Sports — 13 January 2018 — by Dean W. Flowers –Vice-Chairman, BFA
Belmopan 1st Division weekend football highlights; down to final group-stage games

BELMOPAN, Mon. Jan. 8, 2018– The Belmopan Football Association (BFA) Amateur First Division Opening Tournament continued over the weekend with six games being played over the course of three days at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.

FRIDAY – In the early game on Friday night, January 5, fans witnessed young and talented Valencia YWAM Boyz going up against the still undefeated Coast Guard FC. This game was the eighth and final group-stage game for both teams, and with Valencia YWAM already eliminated from the playoffs with only one win, Coast Guard came into this one very confident that they would pick up another big W; but the youthful YWAM Boyz had other plans, and collectively clearly out-possessed the senior Coast Guard team, who narrowly escaped with a 2-2 draw. With superior ball control and possession, Valencia YWAM Boyz was the dominant team on this night; but failure to capitalize on clear opportunities saw them take only one point from their final game of the season.  The scoring was opened by “Mr. Goleador,” Steven Martinez in the 7th minute of play, taking his tally to 14 for the season. For a moment, it looked like another “walk in the park” for Coast Guard; but the energetic YWAM team awoke after going down 1-0, and established clear dominance for the remainder of the first half, with star striker Jalen Myers squandering several clear goal-scoring opportunities, including two one-on-one chances against goalkeeper Jahym McKenzie in goal for Coast Guard FC. In the second half, Coast Guard was off to a quick start once again when, in the 55th minute of play, Arthur Garbutt fired home, his first goal of the season from inside the penalty box, giving Coast Guard the 2-0 lead. YWAM responded six minutes later in the 61st minute via Jalen Myers, who calmly slotted one home to reduce the deficit by one. A motivated YWAM team then pressed forward for the equalizer, maintaining possession of the ball, which resulted in frustration for Coast Guard FC, who picked up two direct red cards in the 73rd and 75th minutes, respectively, via Erredito Valencia and Ardel Avila, who were both guilty of reckless challenges. Sadly, Avila’s red card came at a high cost for young Christian Bush, 18 years old, of YWAM, who suffered a double fracture to his lower left tibia and fibula. It’s a regrettable injury, and the BFA wishes young Christian a speedy and successful recovery.  Nonetheless, the game had to go on, and, with the two-man advantage, YWAM was able to draw level in the 85th minute by way of Jalen Myers, who was a nightmare all night long for the Coast Guard defense, who struggled to contain him. The game ended in a 2-2 draw, and with it, the end of group play for both Coast Guard and Valencia YWAM Boyz. Coast Guard moves on to the quarterfinals, with its opponent to be decided this coming Friday night, whilst Valencia YWAM Boyz goes fishing.

In the late night game, Group A leaders, undefeated Valley United took on last place Maya Mopan Rangers.  Despite fielding mostly substitute players to commence the game, Valley United got off to a quick start, scoring in the 10th minute, courtesy of Arlin Bautista. The Rangers were able to contain them to only one goal in the first half but in the second half coach, Elmer Umana inserted his usual starters into the game, and the onslaught began in the 62nd minute with Emerson Orellana scoring, before Francisco Monterroza extended the lead to 3-0 in the 70th minute. Henry Niño closed off the scoring with his brace in the 75th and 82nd minutes. Valley United now boast a perfect record of 7 wins and 0 losses, with one game to go in group play this coming Sunday, when it faces off with the number two seed in the group, Club Atletico.  It is a game that promises to be exciting, and will serve as a precursor to the playoffs, as bragging rights will be on the line.

SATURDAY – On Saturday night, in the first game, playoff contender Napoles FC had its way, clobbering a struggling Capital United, 7 goals to one. Scoring for Napoles FC were Yoni Gonzales in the 12th and 65th minutes, Luis Perez in the 14th minute, Eber Tobar in the 28th minute, and prolific striker Daniel Naj had a hat trick, scoring in the 24th, 39th and 63rd minutes. Getting the consolation goal for Capital United was veteran midfielder Lincoln Wiltshire, who scored a beauty from half field. Spotting the goalkeeper off his line, Wiltshire took aim and fired a high, long-range volley which crashed into the back of the goal defended by the innocent and inexperienced Oscar Lemus of Napoles FC.

In the highly anticipated second game on Saturday night, Wingz FC stripped the Five Star General and Police FC of their ranks, and sentenced them to a 5-1 clubbing. The talented Brandon Peyrefitte shocked Police FC in the 3rd minute with a header from inside the six yard box. Stunned, the force was unable to regain consciousness, and were hammered by a 30-yard beauty of a volley by Roduel Dominguez in the 9th minute. With the ball in the air some three feet off the ground, with the requisite space needed, Dominguez leaned backward and carefully stroke through it, sending a screamer into the upper right-hand corner of the goal defended by the young Aaron Gamboa, Jr., who simply glanced right and watched the ball crash into the back of the net. Peyrefitte picked up his second for the night from the penalty spot in the 24th minute, after he was taken down by Police FC captain, Jhawn Gamboa. Defender Rochel Moy Dominguez got in on the scoring in the 37th minute, from a dead ball some 35 yards out. With the defensive wall in place, Moy opted for a grass-burner missile, which found its way around the wall and past a flying Aaron Gamboa, Jr. in goal.  The first half ended 4-0; and in the second half, Ryan Saravia closed out the scoring for Wingz FC in the 59th minute, with Charleston Gardiner getting the sole tally for Police FC in the 60th minute. Final score was 5-1 in favor of Wingz FC, who finishes in the fourth and final playoff spot of Group B, and will now face number one seed of Group A, Valley United in the quarterfinal round.

SUNDAY – Sunday evening saw the final two games of the week, with Franks Eddy FC, having a slim but distant chance of qualifying to the next round, facing last place Maya Mopan Rangers in Group A, who came into this one with only one point to its credit. An eliminated Maya Mopan Rangers wasn’t ready to end their season without a victory, and came out fighting like true Mayan warriors. Franks Eddy delivered the first blow in the 22nd minute via dribbling sensation Tyrique Ciego, who let lose a low-range missile from outside the eighteen yards box, which found its way into the back of the net. With the game being pretty even, neither side was able to add to the scoring in the first half, which ended with Franks Eddy up 1-0. A rehydrated Maya Mopan team came out firing in the second half, and was able to tie the game up 1 apiece in the 47th minute via Joseph Trapp. Receiving little help from his team, Tyrique Ciego took matters in his own hands and put Franks Eddy up 2-1 in the 54th minute. But the Rangers would not be denied, and in their final game of the season before becoming spectators in the playoffs, they found the strength to leave their mark. Francisco Coc, Jr. struck the back of the net in 57th minute, tying the game up, 2-2; and, with a frustrated Tyrique Ciego being ejected for misconduct in the 60th minute, the Rangers took full advantage; and Francisco Coc, Jr. got his brace in the 71st minute, giving Maya Mopan Rangers the full three points from their first and only victory in the tournament. As some would say, “break out the champagne;” kudos to the Maya Mopan Rangers on the big 3-2 win, and in the process also eliminating Franks Eddy FC from any possibility of making the playoffs.

The second game on Sunday saw Camalote Warriors and Juventus FC both facing a must-win situation in order to stay in the playoffs hunt. This one was full of surprises, with heavy favorite Juventus FC falling hard to the Warriors. The scoring was opened up in the 38th minute by the creative Oliver Wiltshire, who, after receiving the ball on top of the eighteen yards box, dribbled right, beating a defender, and carefully bent the ball softly to the far corner of the ‘keeper’s left. A well-placed beauty it was, giving Camalote Warriors the 1-0 lead.  A disorganized Juventus FC was unable to get any offense going, with Camalote playing a physical game, disrupting all efforts of attack by the Juventus midfielders. The superior strength and physicality of the Camalote Warriors would eventually overcome the ailing Juventus FC team in the second half, the floodgates opening in the 47th minute with Berthan Bermudez putting the Warriors up 2-0. Oliver Wiltshire would strike again in the 53rd minute for his double, whilst Sanjay Casey made it 4-0 in the 56th minute. An exhausted and battered Juventus FC would surrender another goal in the 66th by way of Leonal Aldana, before Ricky Tamai struck for his brace in the 68th and 74th minutes. It was now 7-0, but the Warriors showed no mercy, and Pablo Fuentes scored Camalote’s eighth and final goal in the 80th minute. With the huge 8-0 victory, Camalote hopes of making it into the playoffs remain alive. A battered and bruised Juventus’ playoff hopes are pretty much over, with a huge goal differential to overcome, even if they were to pull off an unlikely victory on Friday night against another playoff hopeful, Las Flores FC, who are currently 4th, and will be hoping for a Napoles FC victory over Camalote Warriors to assure themselves a spot in the playoffs.

Week 14 will feature the final group-stage games, all 4 games having playoff seeding implication, at Isidoro Beaton Stadium.

Week 14 schedule:
Friday, January 12
6:45 p.m. – Napoles FC vs Camalote Westar Warriors
8:45 p.m. – Las Flores FC vs Juventus FC
Sunday, January 14
3:00 p.m. – Club Atletico FC vs Valley United FC
5:00 p.m. – Roaring Creek United vs Cavetubing.Bz Strikers

Group standings are as follows:

Leading goal scorers in the tournament are as follows.  With one more game to go, will Gabriel Perez, Tivi Ramos or Clifborn Neal catch Stephen Martinez, who has taken his tally to 14 goals, and having played his final group stage game?

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