Portugal: decimated by Covid, a soccer team retires after losing 7-0
Ubuesca scene, Saturday night, in the Portuguese soccer championship. With fourteen players absent due to Covid-19, the Belenenses club was forced to line up a squad made up of only nine elements to receive one of the greats of the Portuguese League, Benfica, at its National stadium in Lisbon.
In addition to the many positive players, the coach and several members of the coaching staff were also missing. The club from the Lisbon district of Belém had to start several young players from the reserve, as well as a goalkeeper repositioned as an outfield player.
Charging a goal against their camp from the first minute, the modest Lisbon team suffered numerically against the eleven “Aguilas” players, who were already 7-0 at halftime.
Only seven Belenenses players returned to the pitch after the break and one of them remained on the ground after the restart. Upon noticing his injury, the referee was forced to declare the early end of the match in the 48th minute of play, soccer laws stipulate that no match can continue “if any of the teams has fewer than seven players.”
“La Liga is a shame,” chanted the fans in the stadium. “It was a shame to play here tonight,” said Rui Pedro Soares, president of Belenenses, after paying tribute to the dignity of “players who have been forced to play.”
After communicating to the Football League “that we did not want to play this match, they told us that we had eight players fit to play” and that the fact of “not appearing could be considered an unjustified absence,” explained the club president. . “It is a black page for Portuguese football,” said Rui Costa, president of Benfica.
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