ORANGE WALK TOWN, Sun. July 1, 2018– Carrying a 3-1 game 1 win on their journey to Louisiana Football Field in Orange Walk for game 2 of the FFB Inter-District Club Championship, Belize City’s FC Elite had to battle back from a 3-0 deficit in game 2 against home standing Progresso FC, to eventually tie the aggregate score with a late second half goal that resulted in a 3-1 victory for Progresso. With both teams then deadlocked at 4 goals and 1 away goal each at the end of game 2, overtime was necessary; and FC Elite got the series winner from the penalty spot, after their star striker, Tyriq “Hamma” Ciego was taken down on a drive into the eighteen yard box, and veteran defender Leon “Lem” Jones made no mistake from the penalty spot in the second half of the overtime period.
FIFA referee Irfan Basdemir had to resort to stern measures to keep the game under control, resulting in two red cards to FC Elite players, and one to a Progresso FC player. Eventually, tempers cooled down, and the game was concluded with a good show of sportsmanship from both teams.
Trailing by 2 goals after their 3-1 loss to FC Elite at the MCC last Sunday, June 24, Progresso FC could have sealed the championship with a 2-nil home win yesterday at the Louisiana Field, since that would result in an aggregate tie of 3-3, and would then give them the edge with their 1 away goal. And the championship seemed well within their grasp when they jumped to a 1-nil first half lead on a long shot from forward Gabriel Perez at the 35th minute. Ryan Murillo pushed the lead to 2-nil early in second half, at the 54th minute. And the celebration was beginning among the many Progresso FC fans on the sidelines when Gabriel Perez (who, incidentally, was their goalkeeper in last week’s 3-1 loss) struck again at the 68th minute to push their lead to 3-0.
But, despite a one-man disadvantage, FC Elite had one card still in their favor, the one called “Hamma.” On a give and go sequence along with Lem Jones, Hamma launced a 20-yard right-foot volley from Lem’s lob pass, and it blew past the Progresso goalie, to make the score 3-1 at the 79th minute; and suddenly, the series was tied at an aggregate 4-4, with neither team having the away-goal advantage. Regulation ended that way, and in the second overtime period, it was Hamma again, beating two defenders as he drove into the box on the left side, and was cut down for a clear penalty. Lem calmly converted (90+25’ OT); and that’s the way the game ended, 3-2 in favor of Progresso FC; but an aggregate series score of 5-4 in favor of the champions, FC Elite.
In attendance at the post-game trophy ceremony were FFB President Sergio Chuc and Vice-Presidents Marlon Kuylen and Cruz Gamez, who congratulated the champions, FC Elite, and sub-champions Progresso FC. FC Elite’s 19 year-old Tyriq “Hamma” Ciego was awarded a trophy for scoring the Most Goals in the tournament, and he also received the season MVP trophy.