On Saturday, November 27, Portuguese league, Primeira Liga, stunned the world when the league body allowed the league game between Benfica and Belenenses to go ahead.
Before the game, Belenenses had announced that 17 members of the team including players and staff had tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus.
Despite their announcement, Primeira Liga did not deem it fit to postpone the game. Hence, Belenenses managed to present 9 players for the league game.
The 9 players included 7 players and two goalkeepers, one of the goalkeepers, Joao Monteiro, was deployed to play in the midfield.
After the break, Belenenses returned to the pitch with just seven players for the second half of the game. The number of players on the pitch were still enough for an official game. Hence, the second half kicked off.
Funnily, Belenenses goalkeeper who played as a midfielder during the game fell on the pitch a minute after the kick-off of the second half. At that point, the number of players fit for the continuation of the game were less than the authorized number. Hence, the referee had to call off the game.
At the time of publishing this report, the 7-0 scoreline still stood in favor of Benfica. Hence, it is not clear whether the game would be replayed.
Before the game kicked off, Belenenses players issued a joint statement to lament how unfair it was that the game was allowed to go ahead even though 17 members of the club were not available for the game, due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club.
The players wrote: “Football only has a heart if it is competitive. Football only has a heart if it is really sporting.
“Football only has a heart when it is an example of public health. Today, football lost its heart.”
The situation was so laughable that Manchester City midfielder and Portugal international, Bernardo Silva had to take to Twitter to make his reaction.
He tweeted: “What is this? Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why the game hasn’t been postponed?”
O que é isto? Sou o único a não perceber o porquê do jogo não ter sido adiado? 🤦🏻♂️— Bernardo Silva (@BernardoCSilva) November 27, 2021
Benfica are currently leading the league table with 31 points in 12 games, two points above second-placed Porto. They have won 10 league games, recorded a draw and a win so far this season.
On the other hand, Belenenses are currently sitting on the 16th spot with 8 points in 12 games, a point away from the relegation zone. They have recorded a win, five draws, and 6 defeats so far this season.