Sports — 26 February 2013
Bandits lead at PLB Week #3, race within a race to CONCACAF Champions League

Undefeated defending champion Belmopan Bandits FC made it 3 victories in a row in Week 3 of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2012-2013 Closing Season with their come from behind 3-2 win over sub-champions Police United FC on Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. The victory maintained the Bandits’ grip not only on first place in the present competition, but also in the aggregate standings (of both the last and the current regular seasons) of the race toward participation in this year’s CONCACAF Champions League tournament. (See standings at bottom.) It was 1-1 at half time, after Amin August, Jr. put the visiting Police in front at the 25th minute, and Jerome “Jarro” James equalized for the Bandits at the 40th. Daniel “Danny” Jimenez gave the visitors another lead at the 50th minute, but again the Bandits equalized, this time through Jeremy Bermudez at the 75th minute, to make it 2-2. David Trapp then got the game winner for the Bandits at the 82nd for the 3-2 final score. It was another tough loss for a game Police squad, who were unfazed by the return of Bandits’ MVP goalie Woodrow West, whose net was shaken twice in his first outing this season.

The 3 other PLB Week 3 games were played yesterday, Sunday.

Down south at the Placencia Football Field, it was home standing Placencia Assassins FC registering their first season victory, 2-1, over Verdes FC. Zerrick Torres (12’) and Alexander Peters (24’) shook the net for the Assassins, while Wilmer Garcia (76’) got the consolation goal for Verdes. Placencia is battling to regain the championship form they displayed a couple seasons ago, while it is also all uphill now for Verdes, who are 0-3 so far.

Meanwhile, out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, it was visiting FC San Felipe Barcelona grabbing the 2-nil win over San Ignacio United FC with goals from Osmar Duran (12’) and Clifton West (20’). This is a revitalized San Felipe squad with two very good strikers – Clifton West and Michael Whitticker, being fed by midfield attacking wizard Deris “Colombia” Benavides. Honduran coach Pascual Noralez has San Felipe believing again.

And here in Belize City at the MCC Grounds, it was the veteran Norman “Tilliman” Nunez/Pipersburgh entering the game at half time and scoring the only goal of the match at the 77th minute, to give F.C. Belize the 1-nil win over visiting Belize Defense Force FC. BDF, with newly recruited twin strikers Jarret Davis and Darwain “Cayo” Castillo, threatened F.C.Belize’s goal early, hitting the post once in first half; but they suffered a setback early in the game when talented midfielder Lisbey Castillo suffered a knee injury and had to be carried off at 15 minutes into the game. For their part, F.C. Belize had added Mark Grant (from R.G. City Boys) to their defense, along with midfield veterans Mark “Kelo” Leslie and Norman “Tilliman” Nunez/Pipersburgh. The game was in the balance, with near misses from both sides, when, less than a minute after entering the match in second half, young F.C. Belize midfielder Avian Crawford’s outlet pass on the right side found Tilliman near the right sideline about fifteen yards past midfield. And the ever alert Tilliman, immediately sent a long curving “sinker” toward goal that saw BDF goalie Delroy Roches scrambling back toward his goal line, and making a futile last second dive as the ball dropped under the cross bar in the left corner; 1-nil ball game. BDF had a chance to equalize from the penalty spot 8 minutes later, but Marlon Meza’s grounder hit the left goal post and rebounded out to be cleared by F.C. Belize defenders.

Ironically, F.C. Belize management certainly did not recruit one-time superstriker, now veteran midfield general and strategist, Tilliman Nunez to score goals. But, until the youngsters can catch on from the veteran, he cannot be faulted for taking what chances he is given. After all, law one for the youth – you can’t score if you don’t shoot at goal.

Upcoming Week 4 games:

Saturday, March 2
7:30 p.m. – Police United FC vs San Ignacio United FC – MCC Grounds
7:30 p.m. – Verdes FC vs FC Belize – Marshalleck Stadium

Sunday, March 3
3:30 p.m. – Belize Defense Force FC vs Belmopan Bandits FC – Norman Broaster Stadium
3:30 p.m. – FC San Felipe Barcelona vs Placencia Assassins FC – People’s Stadium

According to the PLB League Secretariat, “The champion with the most accumulated points over both seasons 2012&2013 goes to CONCACAF Champion’s League.”

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