Sports — 11 March 2017

FC Belize shocks Verdes, 3-0, in PLB Week 7

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 9, 2017 –We’re at the half-way point, Week 7, in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2016-2017 Closing Season, and every team has now registered a win, as Wagiya dropped Freedom Fighters for their first victory; but one team still remains undefeated – defending champions, Belmopan Bandits SC.

In the only Saturday night game in Week 7 this past weekend, home standing Belmopan Bandits won, 3-1, over visiting Placencia Assassins, to record their sixth victory this season. The Bandits scored 3 goals, from Humberto Requena (38’), Aloisio Teixeira (58’) and Jairo Roches (60’), before Placencia replied from the penalty spot through Luis “Baaka” Torres (86’ PK).

On Sunday, in front of their home fans at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, Wagiya grabbed their first season win, 4-2, in the “Battle of the South” against Punta Gorda’s Freedom Fighters. Wagiya goals were by Hector Gomez (3’ & 65’), Alton Carr (46’) and Ernest Flores (85’); while Jarren Lambey (69’ & 72’) accounted for both PG goals.

Meanwhile, out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, it was “mano-mano” between the security forces, as Morvin Budna (31’) put the visiting BDF FC in front, but Andres “J.R.” Makin (56’) equalized for home standing Police United FC, for the 1-1 final score.

Also on Sunday, the big shocker was at the MCC, where third ranked Verdes FC ran into a hungry and surging FC Belize squad, who, despite playing a man short for two-thirds of the match, sent the visiting Verdes home on the short end of a 3-nil score. FC Belize took a 1 goal lead early on a splendid free kick over a defensive wall by Mexican striker Hector Martine, (15’) that lodged in the right, “pigeon hole.” In a physical match that saw 4 yellow cards in first half, FC Belize lost aggressive midfielder Ashton Lewis to red card at the 31st minute; but they somehow made the necessary adjustments to hold out the Verdes attack. With Verdes pushing for the equalizer early in second half, FC Belize veteran midfielder Ryan Simpson (64’) pounced on a turnover just inside the Verdes half, and raced toward their eighteen, beating the oncoming keeper, Yusef Guerra, to make increase the led to 2-nil. And when hopes of a comeback, were beginning to fade late in the game, FC Belize’s Hector Martinez (89’) sealed the deal with another wall-bender free kick from the edge of the eighteen, to make it 3-0, FC Belize over a shell-shocked Verdes FC.

With the victory, FC Belize is now suddenly within striking distance of making a run for a spot in the playoffs, something that seemed way out of reach only a couple weeks ago. (See standings below.)

Premier League of Belize Closing Season 2016-2017  
Week #7 Standings at Sunday, March 5, 2017
TEAM G W D L GF GA Diff Pts
Belmopan Bandits SC 7 6 1 0 22 2 20 19
BDF FC 7 3 3 1 16 7 9 12
Verdes FC 7 3 2 2 11 12 -1 11
Police United FC 7 2 4 1 10 7 3 10
Placencia Assassins FC 7 3 1 3 10 10 0 10
FC Belize 6 2 1 3 7 7 0 7
Freedom Fighters FC 7 1 0 6 6 17 -11 3
Wagiya FC 6 1 0 5 8 28 -20 3
(Week 2 back match remains between FC Belize and Wagiya.)

Bring on the Bandits!

Defending PLB champions, still undefeated Belmopan Bandits SC are red hot following the return of some of their stars from their recent stint with the national team in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships in Nassau, Bahamas. But so are the once struggling FC Belize, who have rebounded from a depressing 0-3 start in this PLB 2016-2017 Closing Season, to quickly rack up 7 points from 2 victories and a draw in their last 3 outings. That draw was against powerful, national sub-champions BDF FC; and one of their victories, their first in this tournament, was against star-studded, and at the time still undefeated, Police United FC. And their most recent victory was perhaps their most impressive, a 3-nil shocker this past Sunday at the MCC, over the highly-respected Verdes FC, coached by Marvin Ottley and trained by national team trainer Philip Marin.

So? There is no better time than now for Belize City football fans to welcome the Bandits to the MCC. Though they will surely miss the muscle of tenacious Ashton Lewis on Sunday, our FC Belize is nevertheless “ready to rumble.”

The weekend Week 8 schedule:
Saturday, March 11
7:30 p.m. – Placencia Assassins FC vs Verdes FC – M.A. Stadium
Sunday, March 12
4:00 p.m. – FC Belize vs Belmopan Bandits SC – MCC Grounds
4:00 p.m. – Wagiya FC vs BDF FC – Carl Ramos Stadium
4:00 p.m. – Police United FC vs Freedom Fighters FC – Norman Broaster Stadium

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Eden Cruz