Benfica’s Primeira Liga match on Saturday night was abandoned in the 46th minute in farcical scenes after opponents Belenenses-SAD started the game with just nine players and went 7-0 down before the game was eventually called off.
A Covid outbreak had left Belenenses with only nine available players, two of which were goalkeepers, but club president Rui Pedro Soares confirmed before kick-off that he had not asked for the game to be postponed despite the decimated squad. The club announced before the match that 17 players and staff had tested positive for Covid-19, as infections continue to rise across Europe.
But Soares was soon pictured in tears on the sidelines at half-time as his side were humiliated by the 37-time Portuguese champions Benfica, the most successful side in the country’s top-flight history.
The chaos began to unfold before kick-off when Belenenses published a teamsheet that was missing two players, contained four players who are not listed on the official squad list and featured goalkeeper Joao Monteiro in midfield.
Matters were not helped when defender Eduardo Kau put the ball into his own net in the opening minute of the match, and by half-time the score had grown to a humiliating 7-0, with Darwin Nunez scoring a hat-trick.
The farcical scenes at the Estadio Nacional caught the eye of Manchester City’s Portuguese international Bernardo Silva, with the former Benfica midfielder writing on Twitter: “What is this? Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why the game hasn’t been postponed?”