Belenenses’ Portuguese top-flight match against Benfica was abandoned early in the second half because the home side had only six players on the pitch – having been forced to start the game with nine men, including a goalkeeper as an outfield player.
A Covid outbreak had left Belenenses with 17 players unavailable and their nine men were already 7-0 down at half-time.
And, after a delayed break, the team third from bottom emerged with just seven players due to injuries before a further injury immediately after the restart left them with only six – resulting in an immediate abandonment.
A dark chapter for Portuguese football – Rui Costa
Benfica president Rui Costa said his side were “forced” to play, adding the two bodies who could have postponed the game, the league and the Directorate-General for Health, did not do so.
“I regret what happened today, a dark chapter for Portuguese football and for the country itself,” he said.
Manchester City’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva wrote on Twitter earlier in the match: “What is this? Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why the game hasn’t been postponed?”
Sporting Lisbon, third in the table behind Benfica, released a statement saying: “Portuguese football as a whole is seriously harmed today.
“What is happening has serious implications for the credibility of this championship and the institutions that regulate it.”
They added: “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.
“It is already receiving international attention and marking yet another dark episode in Portuguese football.”
Today football lost its heart – Belenenses
Belenenses, who had to field goalkeeper Joao Monteiro in defence, got off to the worst possible start, scoring an own goal within the first minute.
Such was their dominance with the two-man advantage, Benfica averaged 85% possession.
The own goal from Brazilian defender Eduardo Kau plus two goals from Haris Seferovic, one from Julian Weigl and a Darwin Nunez hat-trick had ended any semblance of a contest by the break.
During half-time, Belenenses lost Diogo Calila and Antonio Montez to injury, reducing them to seven players.
The match was called off a minute into the second period as Monteiro dropped to the floor, forcing the referee to abandon the game because the minimum number of players – seven – were not on the field.
The Belenenses players released a joint statement before match that read: “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. Today, football lost its heart.”
- 99Sofrimento Ramalho
- 2dos Santos CabralSubstituted forat 45′minutes
- 22Ribeiro Pires
- 44de Sousa Santos
- 34Pedro Lopes
- 20Ferreira Santos
- 31Silva MonteiroSubstituted forat 48′minutes
- 42Cavaco Silva Sá MontezSubstituted forat 45′minutes
- 34Magalhães de Almeida
- 30OtamendiSubstituted forRodrigues da Silvaat 45′minutes
- 28WeiglSubstituted forTaarabtat 45′minutes
- 20João Mário
- 3GrimaldoSubstituted forBastião Diasat 45′minutes
- 27Ferreira SilvaSubstituted forAfonso Fernandesat 45′minutes
- 9NúñezSubstituted forMatias Ramosat 45′minutes
- 7Sousa Soares
- 21Afonso Fernandes
- 31Bastião Dias
- 77Aleixo Leite
- 88Matias Ramos
- 91Rodrigues da Silva
- Manuel Mota
Match abandoned due to insufficient players, Belenenses 0, Benfica 7.
Second Half ends, Belenenses 0, Benfica 7.
João Monteiro went off injured after Belenenses had used all subs.
Second Half begins Belenenses 0, Benfica 7.
Substitution, Benfica. Gonçalo Ramos replaces Darwin Núñez.
Substitution, Benfica. Pizzi replaces Rafa.
Substitution, Benfica. Adel Taarabt replaces Julian Weigl.
Substitution, Benfica. Gil Dias replaces Alejandro Grimaldo.
Substitution, Benfica. Morato replaces Nicolás Otamendi.
Diogo Calila went off injured after Belenenses had used all subs.
António Montez went off injured after Belenenses had used all subs.
First Half ends, Belenenses 0, Benfica 7.
Goal! Belenenses 0, Benfica 7. Darwin Núñez (Benfica) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alejandro Grimaldo.
Foul by Darwin Núñez (Benfica).
João Monteiro (Belenenses) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Rafa Santos.
Attempt blocked. Haris Seferovic (Benfica) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Valentino Lazaro with a cross.
Corner, Benfica. Conceded by Álvaro Ramalho.
Attempt saved. Darwin Núñez (Benfica) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by João Mário.
Goal! Belenenses 0, Benfica 6. Haris Seferovic (Benfica) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the top right corner.