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Belmopan Bandits take lead in PLB Belikin Cup standings

SportsBelmopan Bandits take lead in PLB Belikin Cup standings

The Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2013-2014 Belikin Cup tournament returned to action this past Saturday night with 3 Week-6 games played, resulting in a shift in the standings. (Week 5 scheduled games were all postponed due to bad weather last week, and will be played later as back matches.) Belmopan Bandits now lead the standings, having displaced BDF by beating them 2-1 at the Carl Ramos Stadium, BDF’s home field, on Saturday night. Vallan Symms gave BDF the 1-nil lead from a 22nd minute free kick, but the Bandits replied in second half with a spectacular shot from Denmark Casey, Jr. (47’) and a header by Jeromy “Jarro” James (76’) to clinch the 2-1 win.

At the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo, their Verdes FC got a goal each from Norman “Tilliman” Nunez (Pipersburgh) (10’) and Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton (62’) to drop San Ignacio United, 2-nil.

(Paradise/Freedom Fighters from Toledo were idle this past weekend.)

Meanwhile, the home team, Police United FC had to come from behind at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium to salvage a 1-1 draw against the visiting FC Belize. Jarret Davis put the visitors in front at the 15th minute of first half, but Harrison “Cafu” Roches tied it up at the 13th minute of second half (58’) for the home squad.

There was a modest fan turnout at the Isidoro Beaton, but the Police Recruits were on hand to keep spirits up when their team was down in first half, despite a number of close misses at the FC Belize goal. Coach Hilberto Muchamp was pleased with the ball movement of his Police team, but their failure to get the ball into the net caused some frustration. At the 16th minute, Byron Usher’s ground center from the right side was missed by “Cafu” in front of goal in heavy traffic. Five minutes later, Danny Jimenez’ center found Trevor “Burger” Lennen leaping high about 10 yards away from the far post, but his powerful header went straight into the arms of FC goalie Glenford Chimilio. Burger got off a long, low shot at the 27th minute, but Chimilio handled without much difficulty. But 3 minutes later, Danny Jimenez’ corner from the right side resulted in a rocket volley from the left edge of the eighteen by Cafu, but it went just high above the crossbar. The half ended with no goals for Police, but they definitely had better looks at goal than FC Belize, whose striking ace Jarret Davis made good on a lob near the right side of the eighteen by Shannon Flowers. Jarret won the foot race to the ball and beat Police goalie Keith Allen with a hard grounder for the only first half goal.

At the half, FC Belize coach Marvin Ottley revealed that his team had been denied practice sessions at the MCC all of last week, but they were making a game of it and hoping to pull off the victory. But it was not to be. With Lennox “Criminal” Castillo entering the game for Police at the 6th minute of the 2nd half, there were more good looks for Police, as Criminal brought new energy and direction to the attack. After many failed attempts, pay-off time came for Police when Cafu found space on the right side to receive a left to right lob over the defense, and he made no mistake this time; 1-1 ball game.

FC Belize battled to regain the lead, with new entrant Jermaine Foster sending a bullet from outside the eighteen that went inches over the crossbar at the 64th minute.

Police’s Devon Makin got a good opportunity a couple minutes later, after a through pass found him entering the eighteen on the left side alone against the advancing FC Belize goalie, Chimilio, but his left foot shot drained just wide of the right goal post.

Only a lucky deflection of a right foot rocket from Police’s Clifton West avoided serious problems for FC Belize at the 70th minute.

almost created the game winner at the 89th minute, but his cross-goal grounder to an advancing Amin “Tacos” August was tipped away at the last second by a diving Chimilio.

FC Belize had mounted a strong counter attack in injury time, when referee Irfan Basdemir suddenly stopped play to check on an apparently injured FC Belize player in their own defensive area; and he used up the clock, “blowing off” the game almost immediately upon resuming play. A strange ending to an otherwise very competitive and well played game.

Police may not be looking good in the standings right now, but their game is fast approaching the championship form displayed last season; and they will be strong contenders for a spot in the playoffs.

For their part, FC Belize continues to struggle in the goal scoring department, with Jarret Davis recording only their 2nd goal in 5 outings. Their other was by Jason “Paxon” Young in injury time against cellar dwelling San Ignacio United. The young FC strikers – Stephen “Breds” Baizer, Jermaine Foster and Devaughn “Beckham” Zuniga need to develop fast, if FC Belize hopes to make the playoffs.

Coach Marvin Ottley announced on the Press Cadogan Sports Show on Krem Radio yesterday that he would be departing from the coaching post on FC Belize. Fred Garcia, Jr. has been assisting the team for some time now, and it is left to be seen how the team will respond to this mid-season change. FC Belize is no pushover for anyone, with Best Goalkeeper Glenford Chimilio and Best Defense Leon “Chow” Cadle, but their playoff hopes will hinge on their strikers coming through in the coming games.

A look at the present standings will show that a victory for Police this coming weekend could put them above FC Belize in the standings, since FC Belize will be resting. It will also be observed that league leading Belmopan Bandits actually have played one more game than the next 3 teams in the standings, who each have “a game in hand” and could “catch” the Bandits with a victory.

Four teams will make it to the playoffs, and there are yet no guarantees.

Scheduled Week 7 games:

Saturday, November 9
7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Verdes FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium

Sunday, November 10
3:30 p.m. – San Ignacio United FC vs Police United FC – Norman Broaster Stadium
3:30 p.m. – Paradise/Freedom Fighters vs Belize Defence Force FC – Toledo Union Field
(FC Belize will be idle this weekend.)

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