Rangers’ crunch Europa League match with Benfica will go ahead behind-closed-doors despite a plea from manager Jorge Jesus to let 20,000 fans in the stadium.
Benfica played out their 3-0 win over Standard Liege in front of close to 5000 fans last week and their boss pleaded with authorities to quadruple it as they aim to become record-breakers.
Should Benfica go unbeaten against Rangers they will set a record for a run of 24 UEFA Cup/Europa League home matches without defeat.
But authorities have since knocked back their request and reportedly told Benfica that the match will go ahead without any fans at all as Europe braces for a second wave of Covid-19.
According to the Scottish Sun, the Portuguese Council of Ministers met over the weekend and agreed on new measures to combat the spread of the virus.
These include the decision to lock fans out of stadiums across Portugal until the new measures are relaxed.
This decision will come as a major blow to Jorge Jesus who claimed the Iberian nation’s three biggest clubs have measures in place so as not to endanger public health.
“The stadiums of the big three clubs in Portugal, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and Porto all have the conditions not to endanger public health, as long as everything is well organised, with entrances and exits by different sectors,” said Jesus [Daily Record].
“There is absolutely no need to limit the game to 5,000 supporters. We could easily accommodate 15,000 or 20,000 for the match against Rangers.
“We have to know how to live with this virus that has changed our lives. But we cannot be afraid, we have to know how to live with it in all areas and ensure there is prevention.”
Despite the promise of a tough match against the Portuguese giants Rangers will be buoyed by Benfica’s most recent result at the hands of Primeira Liga rivals Boavista.