Portuguese club Belenenses started a league match against Benfica with just nine players after an outbreak of coronavirus in its squad on Saturday. It was later called off just after halftime. With two fewer players, Belenenses was soon trailing. Benfica scored all goals in the 7-0 win in the first half. (More Football News)
The referee called the match off just after the start of the second half. Only seven players took the field for Belenenses, which soon lost another player, goalkeeper Joao Monteiro, who was playing in the midfield, dropped to the turf, leaving them with only six.
In other instances, the game would have been postponed but the Portuguese Premiera Liga authorities went ahead with the match. News emerged that 14 players and three staff members of Belenenses had tested positive.
The laws of soccer allow for games to be played as long as each team has seven players, including a goalkeeper. Club president Rui Pedro Soares said that despite having a decimated squad his club did not ask for the game to be postponed.
Before the start of the match, the Belenenses players shared a joint statement that said, “Football only has heart if it is competitive. Football only has heart if it is sporting. Football only has heart when it is an example of public health. Today, football has lost its heart.”