Sports — 16 August 2017
PLB 2017-2018 Opening Season kicks off with a bang!!

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 14, 2017–Despite the two-week delay in commencement and very little fanfare to mark the occasion, the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2017-2018 Opening Season nevertheless kicked off with a real bang, with all 8 teams seeing action over the past weekend; and it promises to be a hotly contested season, judging from the scores in Week 1 of the tournament. (San Pedro Pirates FC has replaced FC Belize in this tournament.)

Here at the MCC Grounds on Saturday, visiting Placencia Assassins had hosts BDF FC “on the ropes” after a corner from the left side resulted in a header from close quarters by Assassins defender Elroy Coe glancing off the torso of BDF defender Ricky Ricketts (45’ Own Goal) and rolling inside the left goal post for the 1-nil Placencia lead just before the intermission. The game got much more physical in second half, much to the detriment of Placencia midfield ball-wizard, Delone Torres and small-framed attacking talent Rene Leslie. Eventually, the persistent BDF pressure was rewarded at the 59th minute, when new addition, young Jarren Lambey emerged from a melee inside the Assassins area to blast his first of two goals from point blank range past goalkeeper Anthony Williams. It was looking like a draw game, but with time winding down, Jarren was on the spot again, after Williams rejected a shot by BDF midfielder Raymond Ramos, and Lambey pounced on the rebound, to slam home the game winner at the 90th minute. 2-1, BDF over Placencia Assassins.

Later on Saturday night, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, defending champion Bandits Sports got a goal in each half, from Jerome “Jarro” James (6’) and Elroy Smith (90’), to deal visiting newcomer San Pedro Pirates FC their first loss, 2-nil, in Premier League football.

Sunday afternoon at the Norman Broaster Stadium saw visiting Wagiya FC from Dangriga holding Verdes FC scoreless until halftime; but the home team got what proved the game winner early in second half from newly acquired veteran, Elroy “Bibs” Kuylen at the 52nd minute, for the 1-nil final score.

Meanwhile, there were shock waves down south at the Victor Sanchez Union Field in Punta Gorda, where the star-studded visitors, Police United FC was shocked, 3-1, by the young Freedom Fighters FC, who are being coached this year by renowned veteran midfielder of the 1970’s, Charles “Chuck” Gutierrez, younger brother of the legendary striker, Jacinto “Tash” Gutierrez. Police United coach Aaron “Gambis” Gamboa was no doubt feeling confident after veteran striker Harrison “Cafu” Roches gave Police the first half lead with his 41st minute strike. But Freedom Fighters came back strong in second half, led by a resurgent P.G. star striker, Ralph Flores with goals at the 49th and 71st minutes. And, despite the long injury time, the equalizer would not come for the visitors, as Rajiv Mangar’s goal at the 97th minute sealed the 3-1 Freedom Fighters victory.

Upcoming Week 2 schedule:
Saturday, August 19
3:00 p.m. – San Pedro FC vs BDF FC – Ambergris Stadium
7:30 p.m. – Placencia Assassins FC vs Bandits Sports – M.A. Stadium
Sunday, August 20
4:00 p.m. – Freedom Fighters FC vs Verdes FC – Victor Sanchez Union Field
4:00 p.m. – Wagiya FC vs Police United FC – Carl Ramos Stadium

STANDINGS
CLUBS Games Played Games Remain W D L GF GA Diff Pts
Freedom Fighters FC 1 13 1 0 0 3 1 2 3
Bandits Sports 1 13 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
BDF FC 1 13 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
Verdes FC 1 13 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
Wagiya FC 1 13 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
Placencia Assassins FC 1 13 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
San Pedro Pirates FC 1 13 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
Police United FC 1 13 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

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Eden Cruz

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