As predicted earlier in the season, the Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2012-2013 ended its regular competition this past weekend with tight races in both zones, where a number of teams had “must win” games, and the points total was not enough to determine one spot in each zone. In the south, where both Placencia Assassins and Verdes FC ended up tied with 29 points each, the Assassins clinched the playoff spot by virtue of a 7-goal advantage in the goal difference column. (See standings below.) Police United had sealed the top spot with their 30 points to top the South Zone. But in the North, where Belmopan Bandits were clear front runners with 31 points, the situation was even tighter between Belize Defense Force (BDF) and F.C. Belize, who were not only tied with 28 points, but also tied with a goal difference of 15, after F.C. Belize had loaded up FC San Felipe Barcelona, 8-nil, in San Felipe yesterday. This one had to be decided according to another yardstick (see “PLB announces playoff berths” elsewhere in this issue.)
On Saturday night at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, visiting Verdes FC pulled out the 3-2 win (goal scorers not yet available) over Paradise/Freedom Fighters. Meanwhile, in the “game of the week” at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, BDF had to come from behind in the waning minutes to secure a 1-1 draw against Belmopan Bandits, and garner the 1 point that was needed to salvage a spot in the playoffs. Jerome “Jarro” James put the Bandits in front at the 44th minute, but defender Victor Nunez tied it up for BDF at the 86th.
On Sunday, there was action again at the Isidoro Beaton, where Police got the win they needed to clinch the #1 spot in the South Zone, when they dropped San Ignacio United, 4-2, with goals from Evan Mariano (12’), Danny Jimenez (41’ & 79’) and Lennox “Criminal” Castillo (90’+); while San Ignacio got goals from Rosny Martinez (22’) and Joel Guzman (87’). At the MCC Grounds in Belize City, a short staffed R.G. City Boys United battled gamely, holding visiting Placencia Assassins scoreless through the first half, before wilting in second half and falling 3-0. Placencia goals came from Ernie Whyte (61’), Brent Whyte (72’) and Dalton Eiley (76’ PK). Juventus forfeited their game to San Pedro Seadogs, 3-0, which was scheduled for the Ambergris Stadium. And at the San Felipe Football Field in Orange Walk, F.C. Belize led 2-nil at half time over home standing San Felipe Barcelona, but the goals came in a rush late in second half, as F.C. Belize added 6 more for the 8-nil final score. John King had the only 5-goal tally of the season (24’, 37’, 70’, 76’ and 88’), along with strikes from Francisco Briceno (77’), David Ramos (80’) and Christian Perez (82’ PK).
Week 1 of home-and-away semifinal playoff schedule:
Saturday, December 8
7:30 p.m. – Placencia Assassins vs Belmopan Bandits – Michael Ashcroft Stadium
Sunday, December 9
3:30 p.m. – Belize Defense Force vs Police United FC – Norman Broaster Stadium