Farcical Benfica game abandoned at 7-0

AFP

B-SAD, a controversial offshoot of historic club Belenenses, was plunged into crisis this week when 13 of its players tested positive for COVID-19. Among them was Cafu Phete, who had recently been in South Africa, where the new Omicron variant of the virus was first detected.

Despite the depleted nature of its squad, club president Rui Pedro Soares confirmed earlier in the day it had not asked Benfica to postpone the fixture, much to the dismay of players, who published coordinated messages to social media as the match kicked off in Oeiras, Lisbon.

Their statement 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."

B-SAD started the match with just nine players on the pitch, many of whom were members of its under-23s side, and it included a goalkeeper, Joao Monteiro, playing in defence.

Benfica was ahead inside 24 seconds thanks to an own goal by Eduardo Kau; while the visitors did not score again until the 14th minute, the writing was on the wall.

It was 7-0 by half-time thanks to a Darwin Nunez hat-trick, Haris Seferovic brace and a solitary Julian Weigl goal.

"What is this? Am I the only one who doesn't understand why the game hasn't been postponed?" former Benfica player Bernardo Silva posted on Twitter.

B-SAD did return to the pitch for the second half but with only seven players, and as soon as the game resumed, the hosts put the ball into touch and another player dropped to the turf citing an injury.

The referee called a halt to the game as a result of B-SAD running out of players, with teams required to have a minimum of seven on the pitch.

It has not been confirmed whether Benfica will be awarded just a 3-0 win, as is standard for a forfeiture, or take the full 7-0 scoreline.


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