Sports — 28 March 2005 — by E-Jay Hill


Holy Saturday night, March 26th,at Independence?s Michael Ashcroft Stadium, it may have been Kulture Yabra that struck first blood on a beautiful shot by their leader, Norman Nunez, in the 22ndminute of the first half from a feed from Edon ?Yellowman? Rowley. ?Tilliman? received a picture perfect pass from his midfielder ?Yellowman? about 22 yards out and slammed it home for the early Yabra lead.


In the 39thminute, in fashion similar to Tilliman, Robert ?The Hog? Muschamp received a pass from the champions? new Brazilian import, Pablo Vianney, from about 25 yards, Muschamp unloaded with one of his patented right-footed rockets that had Kulture goalkeeper ?Zabel? Rowley sprawled out trying for the save. To no avail. The Sagitun players and fans celebrated the 1?1 ball game at the half.


The ?tale of two halves? syndrome caught Yabra again. In the first half they performed pretty well and held their own. But in the second half it did not take long for Sagitun?s forwards and midfielders – Kareem Haylock, ?Kelo? Leslie, ?Hog? Muschamp and Elroy Kuylen to launch continuous intrusions into the Kulture defenses which paid off.


14 minutes into the second half, there was a scramble in front of the Yabra goal. The defenders could not clear, and Kuylen, the league?s leading goleador, had them pay for it with a low ground shot, putting the home team up, 2 ? 1.


The City Lions fought and clawed with almost everything for the equalizer, but the Sagitun defenders remained stingy, putting more pressure on the Kulture midfielders and forwards. At one point, Kulture seemed totally dejected, with Sagitun playing one-two-touch ball, holding the ball for at least five minutes.


The defending champs were deliberate in holding and controlling the game to suit their pace. In the 88thminute, that strategy was rewarded, when ?Leach? Jimenez demonstrated some fancy footwork, passed it to Marcos ?McGoo? Souto, who cooled it off his chest, made a few strides and with that the final screws to the Kulture Yabra casket were in place for the 3?1 burial.


Meanwhile, out west at the historic Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, Calcutta Bulls and host team Cayo Avengers played to a scoreless draw. If either team had won, they would have jumped past Kulture Yabra, who have twelve points and are barely holding on to the fourth spot after losing to Sagitun.


Out across the waters on the island of San Pedro Ambergris Caye on Sunday afternoon, March 27th, visiting Juventus shocked the Seahawks, escaping from the island with a 1 nil victory. Juventus helped themselves big time with the win: they are now in second place, bumping the Seahawks to third. Early in the first half at the 13thminute, Donnie Tun set Raul Celiz off a spot kick on the right flank for Celiz to score the game?s first and only goal with a header to the far side away from San Pedro goalie Wilhelm Johnson.


Both teams squandered several one-on-one opportunities. San Pedro?s Emory Nunez had two breakaways at goal, but missed on both in the first half. In the second half the best chance for the equalizer came when Dion Frazier attacked deep inside the Juventus defenses, but the ball was kicked wide of the mark.


Jerome ?Jejeh? Serrano, playing his first game for Juventus, received his second caution (yellow card) and was sent to the showers late in the game. The Seahawks, with Juventus one man down, tried to use the disadvantage and applied pressure. They brought in Landy Pinelo off the bench, along with their new Brazilian import, Ronaldo Silva, but it was futile. Juventus withstood the pressure and left San Pedro with a much needed win.


Some 40-plus miles north of the Michael Ashcroft, Sunday afternoon March 27that Griga?s Carl Ramos Stadium, the visiting Kremandala Lake posse rolled into the Culture Capital with one mission – ?We are not and we won?t be the first to lose to Print Belize Griga.? After 90 minutes of mediocre football, Kremandala Lake?s mission was accomplished, keeping Griga locked in the cellar with a 2?1 loss.


24 minutes into the game, KremLake defender Warren ?Winga? Flowers and a Griga defender both went up for a header, but the ball was headed onto Flowers? hand inside the eighteen-yard box. Print Belize Griga were awarded a penalty kick. Aaron ?Wiley? Locario got the home team on the scoreboard first, converting on the penalty kick, sending it to Stanley ?Jordan? Reneau?s right. With ?Jordan? reading left, Griga got the first goal to end the first half up 1 nil.


Eight minutes into the second half, Lake?s Maurice ?Magic? Francis used his experience in splitting two Griga defenders, went into the eighteen-yard box and let off a shot that Griga?s goalie Kevin Dawson deflected straight to David ?Manu? McCauley, who was trailing the play. Manu made no mistake, tying the game with a bomb.


Ten minutes later – same script, different cast. In Griga?s rush to clear the ball out of the danger zone inside Griga?s eighteen-yard box, the ball inadvertently hit the defender on the hand. It was now KremLake?s opportunity to strike from the penalty spot. David ?Dav? McCauley, son of Manu, stepped to the spot and sent it to Dawson?s right with the goalie guessing left.


KremLake went on to win, 2-1. Their next game is against undefeated Sagitun at the Garden in Belize City on April 10.

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