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Benfica's forward Rafa da Silva is challenged by Belenenses' Burkinese defender Trova Boni during the Portuguese league football match at the Jamor stadium in Oeiras, outskirts of Lisbon. Image Credit: AFP

Lisbon: Portuguese club Belenenses started a league match against Benfica with just nine players after an outbreak of coronavirus in its squad last night. It was later called off just after halftime.

With two fewer players, Belenenses was soon trailing. Benfica scored all goals in the 7-0 win in the first half.

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A Covid outbreak left Belenenses with 17 players unavailable and they were 7-0 down at half-time before they emerged after the break with just seven players. An injury immediately after the restart left them with just six - resulting in an immediate abandonment.

The referee called the match off just after the start of the second half. Only seven players took the field for Belenenses, which soon lost another player when one dropped to the turf, leaving them with only six.

The laws of soccer allow for games to be played as long as each team has seven players, including a goalkeeper.

Club president Rui Pedro Soares said that despite having a decimated squad his club did not ask for the game to be postponed.