Wednesday, January 26

Portugal: a team plays nine with two goalkeepers before withdrawing

Portuguese club Belenenses, affected by the Covid-19 cases, could only field nine players on Saturday against Benfica, in a Portuguese league game that was interrupted after half-time.

The “shame match”. This is how this meeting between the two teams was nicknamed, whose completely incredible images have been around the world since Saturday evening. At the Nacional stadium in Lisbon, the Belem district team found itself in an ubiquitous situation when it came to hosting one of the three giants of the Portuguese Liga.

“It was a shame to play here tonight,” said Rui Pedro Soares, president of Belenenses, after paying tribute to the dignity of “players who were forced to play” on Saturday evening at a conference Press.

“A black page for Portuguese football”

In addition to the many positive players, the coach and several members of the technical staff were missing, which pushed Belenenses to start several young players from the reserve, as well as a goalkeeper repositioned as an improvised fielder. At the break, the score was already… 7-0.

Only seven Belenenses players returned to the pitch after the break and one of them remained on the ground after the restart. Noting his injury, the referee was forced to call the early end of the match in the 48th minute of play, the laws of football stipulating that no match can continue “if either team has less. seven players. “

The decision to hold the game despite the unavailability of many players in quarantine has been heavily criticized.

“It’s a black page for Portuguese football,” said Rui Costa, president of Benfica, adding that Benfica, “just like Belenenses was forced to play” to respect the rules.

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