BELMOPAN, Wed. Jan. 3, 2018– Whilst many were on their Christmas break, the Belmopan Football Association (BFA) continued with its First Division 2017/2018 Amateur Football Opening Tournament on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, December 28, 29 and 30, respectively, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.
On Thursday night, fans were treated to two games. In game one, Valencia YWAM Boyz walked all over Duck Run 2 Warriors, to pick up their first win in the tournament by a score of 5-2. Playing big for Valencia YWAM Boyz was Jalen Myers, who scored four goals, specifically in the 5th, 11th, 17th and 62nd minutes. Christian Bush wrapped things up for YWAM by scoring in the 66th minute. The consolation goals for Duck Run 2 came from the feet of Edgar Gregorio in the 6th and 60th minutes. Game 2 of Thursday night saw the mighty Roaring Creek United, without star striker Michael Lewis, who is suspended, going up against Wingz FC. This one was full of excitement, playing at a very high tempo, with both teams attempting to grind their way into a playoff spot. The stalemate was broken in the 24th minute of play, when the smooth operator, Clifborn Neal intercepted an errant pass from the Wingz defence, and calmly slapped the ball past an out-coming Ricky Miranda, who was in goal for Wingz FC, for the 1-0 lead. The game remained pretty even throughout, with Wingz pushing forward for the equalizer, which failed to materialize. Coming under constant attack from Wingz, Roaring Creek United had to resort to counter attacks, and one of those counter attacks proved successful in the 81st minute, when Roaring Creek’s Alden Coleman found himself inside the Wingz eighteen-yard box, outsprinting last man Moy Dominguez of Wingz, only to be taken down by a careless slide tackle from Dominguez, which resulted in referee Juan Alas pointing to the penalty spot. A confident Clifborn Neal stepped up and calmly outplaced a diving Miranda in goal for Wingz. Despite the valiant effort of Wingz FC, Roaring Creek United proved just too strong, beating them by the final score of 2-0.
On Friday night, another double header was played, with undefeated Coast Guard FC facing an inexperienced St. Margaret FC. The Coast Guards were stunned in the first minute of play, when Wisman Guevara wasted no time in taking advantage of the Guards’ defensive complacency, and opened the scoring in the first minute of play with a bullet from inside the eighteen-yard box, which whisked past goalkeeper Jahym McKenzie in goal for Coast Guard. A stunned Coast Guard team was unable to answer immediately, but their superior fitness and speed ability paid dividends in the 26th minute, when Oscar Vidal was gifted a freebie by goalkeeper Miguel Aldana, who, despite the ball carrying little pace and no threat towards goal, mis-timed it with his hands, and the ball slowly rolled between his legs and into an empty net. With the game tied up 1-1, Coast Guard regained confidence, and leading goal scorer Stephen Martinez took over business and came up with a hat trick in 36th, 57th and 62nd minutes, giving Coast Guard a convincing 4-1 victory, and taking his tally to a tournament leading thirteen goals.
In the late game on Friday, Cotton Tree FC found itself fighting to stay alive for a playoff spot, when they went up against neighboring village rivals, Cavetubing.Bz Strikers of Franks Eddy. Despite needing a victory, Cotton Tree FC started the game off with little urgency, failing to establish dominance, and squandering several clear goal-scoring opportunities. This would prove costly when Cavetubing.Bz Strikers’ captain Auner Carrera released a low cruise-missile from about 35 yards out, which goalkeeper Gerson Gonzalez, in goal for Cotton Tree, failed to handle properly. The ball fumbled out of the hands of Gonzalez and struck the near upright, causing it to cross over the goal line. The diving Gonzalez corralled it in his arms, but 1st Assistant Referee, Josue Rivera, Jr. ruled that it had crossed the goal line, and ruled it as a goal in favor of Cavetubing.Bz Strikers. First half ended 1-0. In the second half, a surging Cotton Tree came out firing on all cylinders, but Cavetubing.Bz Strikers’ goalkeeper, Vicente Bonilla was having none of it, and rejected all shots at goal, and in some cases was assisted by the near uprights and crossbar. The game proved unforgiving to Cotton Tree when contracted striker for Cavetubing.Bs Strikers, Gabriel Perez struck a double in the 66th and 73rd minutes, to extend the Cavetubing.Bz Strikers lead to 3-0, taking his goal tally to 10 goals in the tournament. Sensing that their season was coming to an end, Cotton Tree made a last ditch effort for a comeback, and was awarded a penalty in the 78th minute, which was successfully converted by Ranulfo Alvarez, to cut the deficit to 3-1. Encouraged by the goal, Cotton Tree threw everyone forward, and Sergio Barrera managed to score a controversial goal, which ricocheted off the bottom cross bar twice, with 1st assistant referee, Josue Rivera, Jr. ruling that the ball had crossed the line when it ricocheted the first time, and it was ruled a goal in the 79th minute. The last ten minutes were simply not enough time for Cotton Tree FC to tie things up, and the game ended in favor of Cavetubing.Bz Strikers, 3-2. With the loss, Cotton Tree is mathematically eliminated from any possibility of making it to the quarterfinal round.
On Saturday night, on the eve of New Year’s Eve, fans were treated with what can only be described as football fireworks, when old rivals, Camalote Westar Warriors faced off with the expensively reinforced Club Atletico in game one, and undefeated, high flying Valley United FC went up against formerly undefeated champions, Juventus FC.
In game one of the night, Club Atletico came out firing when, in the 3rd minute of play, speedy Tivi Ramos outsprinted the Camalote defense to catch up on a through ball, and easily placed it in the far corner past the helpless Minor Castellanos, who was in goal for Camalote. Club Atletico doubled their lead in the 5th minute through Orange Walk import, midfielder Marlon Miranda, who found himself on the end of a diagonal pass inside the eighteen-yard box, and calmly slapped it home with the inside of his right foot. The Westar Warriors were able to pull one back before half time, courtesy of Berthan Bermudez, who powered home the ball from above the six-yard box, taking advantage of sloppy defending from Club Atletico. Club Atletico restored the two-goal advantage early in the second half, when Tivi Ramos scored his second of the game in the 47th minute. With a playoff berth still in its reach, Camalote Westar Warriors soared forward, and in the 64th minute narrowed the goal margin by a strike, courtesy of Ever Torres. The Warriors would fight until the end, squandering numerous opportunities at goal, and ultimately falling short, as they were defeated in this hotly contested game by the final score of 3-2.
The late night game featured the undefeated Valley United FC from Valley of Peace, boasting the “Big Mennonite,” Randy Dueck in goal, and cheered on by a large entourage of vocal fans, going up against the struggling Juventus FC, who mathematically remain in the playoff hunt, and boast the tournament’s former Best Goalkeeper, James Gonzalez in goal, and the young and skillful Alence Ayala, the younger brother of star midfielder Jordi Polanco, in the midfield. This one promised to be a showdown, and it did not disappoint. From the onset, it was clear that Valley United was undefeated, because they are good, very good collectively. James Gonzalez was called upon numerous times in the Juventus goal to come up with huge saves from the wave of attacks coming from the Valley strikers. Gonzalez did his best, but the Valley frontline proved too much, and managed the breakthrough in the 36th minute via Javier Carias. Before the half ended, Juventus rallied back, and were able to tie the game up 1 apiece in the 44th minute via Levi Pixabaj. In the second half, the boisterous Valley fans demanded victory from their team, and they did not disappoint. The onslaught started quickly at the 47th minute, when Javier Carias picked up his second goal of the game. This opened the flood gates as, despite the brave and brilliant saves by the agile Gonzalez, Valley United proved that they are for real. In the 56th minute, Olvin Maldonado struck goal number three for Valley, followed by Emerson Orellana in the 59th minute, and in the 75th minute, Dustin Juan sent the message loud and clear that this Valley United team is in it to win it.
Valley remains atop Group A undefeated with a perfect record of 6 wins and 0 losses, for a total of 18 points. In Group B, Coast Guard FC also remains undefeated, with a record of 5 wins, 2 draws and 0 losses, for a total of 17 points. Two more weeks of group play are anticipated before the quarterfinals begin.
Week 13 features 6 games, which are expected to be played over the coming weekend at the Isidoro Beaton
Stadium as follows:
Friday, January 5
6:45 p.m. – Valencia YWAM Boyz vs Coast Guard FC
8:45 p.m. – Maya Mopan Rangers vs Valley United
Saturday, January 6
6:00 p.m. – Capital United vs Napoles
8:00 p.m. – Wingz FC vs Police FC
Sunday, January 7
3:00 p.m. – Franks Eddy FC vs Maya Mopan Rangers
5:00 p.m. – Camalote Westar Warriors vs Juventus FC