Benfica match abandoned after Covid-hit opponents left with six players

Benfica’s Primeira Liga match at Belenenses on Saturday was abandoned amid extraordinary scenes after their Covid-19-hit opponents were forced to name a team of nine playersincluding two goalkeepers.

Benfica took advantage of their numerical superiority to rack up seven goals by half-time before Belenenses returned with only seven players for the second period.
The match was then called off two minutes after the break when Joao Monteiro, a goalkeeper playing in midfield, sat down on the down unable to continue, forcing the referee to abandon the game which requires a minimum of seven players.
    Following a positive Covid-19 test in the squad earlier in the week, の合計 17 cases were reported among Belenenses players and staff, the club’s president Rui Pedro Soares told a news conference on Saturday before the match.
      The Belenenses players shared a message on social media before the game that said: “Football only has heart if it is competitive. Football only has heart if it is really sporting. Football only has heart when it is an example of public health. 今日, football lost its heart.
        Soares told reporters he had unsuccessfully asked the authorities for the game to be postponed.
        In the middle of the afternoon we communicated to the Liga that we didn’t want to play the game,” 彼は言った.
          We had eight players who could attend the game and as such they told us that if we didn’t attend the game it would be unjustified absence.
          Playing here today was a shame for all of us.

          New variant

          Soares told Saturday’s news conference that defender Cafu Phete had tested positive for Covid, having returned to Portugal on Thursday from international duty in 南アフリカ.
          Soares added that he was concerned the cases in the squad could be related to the new Omicron variant.
          It was first discovered in South Africa and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday classed it as a懸念の変種,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms.
          Benfica president Rui Costa said his side had no choice but to play the game on Saturday.
          We did not like to enter the pitch under these conditions,” 彼は言った. “Benfica was forced to do it like Belenenses. I regret what happened today, a dark chapter for Portuguese football and for the country itself.
          スポーツ, third in the standings behind leaders Benfica, also released a statement.
            What made this situation possible must deserve a deep reflection by all those who defend the sporting truth and must deserve national attention at the highest level,” と言いました.
            It is already receiving international attention and marking yet another dark episode in Portuguese football…”

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