First, here are the official Week 14 game stats as released by the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Secretariat:
Saturday, December 1 – Verdes FC (Julio Ayala 17’; Julian Maldonado 68’; Walter Chinchillas 88’) 3:2 Paradise/Freedom Fighters (Eduardo Martinez 31’; Delroy Flores 90’+) at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium. Belmopan Bandits (Jeremy James 44’) 1:1 Belize Defense Force (Victor Nunez 86’) at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.
Sunday, December 2 – Police United FC (Evan Mariano 12’; Daniel Jimenez 41’ & 79’; Lennox Castillo 90’+) 4:2 San Ignacio United FC (Rosny Martinez 22’; Joel Guzman 87’). F.C. Belize (John King 24’, 37’, 70’, 76’ & 88’; Francisco Briceno 77’; David Ramos 80’; Christian Perez 82’ PK) 8:0 FC San Felipe Barcelona at San Felipe Football Field. Placencia Assassins (Ernie Whyte 60’; Brent Whyte 71’; Dalton Eiley 75’ PK) 3:0 R.G. City Boys United at MCC Grounds. San Pedro Sea Dogs (3:0) by default over Juventus FC at Ambergris Stadium).
It was a decisive weekend for 5 teams in contention for playoff spots (Bmp Bandits were already into the semifinals), and points total was not enough to determine 2 of the 3 remaining spots in the semifinal playoffs.
In the South, Police clinched their semifinal berth with a 4-2 win, giving them 30 points to lead their group. Both Verdes and Placencia Assassins also won their games, but, tied in points at 29, the nod went to the Assassins who were ahead in the Goal Difference column.
The situation was even more intense in the North, where Belize Defense Force managed only a draw against group leaders Belmopan Bandits on Saturday night, leaving a mathematical opening for F.C. Belize to garner equal points with a victory; which F.C. Belize did, blasting San Felipe Barcelona, 8-nil. Both F.C. Belize and BDF thus ended their regular season with 28 points and identical goal difference of 15. The League then turned to the “Goals For” column, and it was BDF with a 25-22 edge over F.C. Belize, thus giving BDF the second playoff spot in the North. See our version of the final standings below.
But there were some technical arguments from the F.C. Belize camp, who claimed that, since BDF had been officially awarded their game against Juventus by forfeiture, the goals awarded to BDF for that game should not have been counted in the comparison of “goals scored,” although BDF had actually scored 3 goals in the first half of the forfeited game. It is an argument that needs to be clarified for future reference, because if, as the League has done, 3 goals are awarded automatically for a default win, as with San Pedro over Juventus, then it follows that the 3 goals are forfeiture goals also awarded to BDF, and those actually scored in first half are null and void, thus removing them from the actual scoring records. But FIFA’s tie-breaking format refers to official “total goals scored,” which would leave BDF at 22; or would it, considering that three goals were actually scored before the game was aborted? F.C. Belize followers were hoping for a possible square-off with BDF to settle the controversy on the field; but the League saw it differently, and awarded the spot to BDF on the strength of their 1 “Goal For” advantage.
We have requested a clarification from the PLB, whether the 3 goals scored by BDF in the first half of the forfeited game against Juventus are therefore to be recorded as official goals on our goal scoring records for this past season. If so, we need the names of the goal scorers and the times when they scored.
Nevertheless, the dates are set for the Finals home-and-away series. And it appears that both #1 seeds, Belmopan Bandits and Police United FC have opted to play game 1 on the road.
PLB Finals Week 1 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