Belenenses 0-7 Benfica: A dark chapter for Portuguese football
By Benjamin Ron
Belenenses Primeira Liga clash against Benfica was abandoned early into the second half with the home side only being able to field six outfield players.
A Covid outbreak within the Belenenses camp during the week saw 13 players test positive with the virus and four more positive cases within the team’s coaching staff.
The game went ahead at the Estádio Do Restelo on Saturday night despite the outrage and protests from several Belenenses players who released a statement on social media before the game which read, “Football only has colour if it has competition. Football only has colour if it has sporting truth. Football only has colour when it is an example of public health. Today, football has lost its colour.”
With only 9 outfield players starting, including a goalkeeper in midfield, the hosts saw themselves 7-0 down at half time which included a hat-trick from the promising Uruguayan Striker Darwin Núñez and a brace from Swiss international Haris Seferovic.
Belenenses came out for the second half with just seven players, and not long after the game had restarted, the referee was forced to stop play after another injury to the home side saw them reduced to just six player which was below the minimum number of players required to be on the field.
Benfica president Rui Costa had a lot to say about the events on Saturday night, saying his side were “forced” to play, and that the two bodies who could have postponed the game did not do so.
“I regret what happened today, a dark chapter for Portuguese football and for the country itself,” he added.
Manchester City and Portugal star Bernado Silva took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the situation, saying “What is this? Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why this game hasn’t been postponed?”.
A 7-0 thrashing from Benfica, but it will be Belenenses who grab the headlines in what is a truly dark day for Portuguese football.