BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 17, 2019– Starting with 20 teams, 2 each from the 10 different “football regions” of the country, it was down to the Round of 16, then the 8-team quarterfinals, all home-and-away affairs; and with the completion of the quarterfinals this past weekend, it is now down to 4 teams in the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) National Amateur League Championships 2019, which will kick off its semifinals with the first leg games this coming weekend.
Three of the 4 quarterfinal series were decided in regulation, but one went all the way down to a penalty shootout, in which the Belmopan champion prevailed. Interestingly, both the Belize City based teams have made it to the semifinals.
Two quarterfinal 2nd leg matches were played on Saturday night, and two on Sunday afternoon.
Down at the M.A. Stadium in Independence on Saturday night, CJM Strikers hosted Belize City’s Caesar Ridge FC. After scoring both goals in Caesar Ridge’s 1st leg 2-nil victory, “Buck-it” (Sydney Bradley, Jr.) got another brace (66’ & 70’) along with a goal each from Kishane Macoaleno (31’) and Kishane Suazo (73’) to give Caesar Ridge the 4-1 win over home standing CJM Strikers, whose only goal was by Jorge Alvarado (32’). With the 6-1 aggregate score, Caesar Ridge is on to the semifinals.
Also on Saturday night, there was high drama at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, where home-standing defending champion, Club Atletico and Progresso FC from Orange Walk were both scoreless in regulation for the second time, ending in a 0-0 draw just like they did in the 1st leg of their quarterfinal series. In the penalty shootout, Club Atletico emerged 3-1 winners with scores from Tyriq Ciego, Jose Galdamez and Allen Armstrong; while only Jordi Catzim converted for Progresso. Club Atletico therefore will go on to the semifinals.
On Sunday afternoon at People’s Stadium in Orange Walk, Jose Acevedo converted a penalty at the 39th minute, to give home team GG Sugar Boys FC a 1-nil lead; but the visiting Roaring Creek United rebounded with second half goals from Michael Lewis (55’) and Clifborn Neal (90+’) to secure the 2-1 road win. Roaring Creek had also won the quarterfinal 1st leg, 3-2, so they are aggregate 5-3 winners, and have secured a semifinal berth.
Meanwhile, at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, it was not so close, as the home team, Barrack Road FC sported a 5-2 quarterfinal 1st leg win over Los Catrachos from San Pedro; and Barrack Road promptly added 6 more goals, with no answer from the visitors. Shaking the net for Barrack Road were Steven “Breds” Baizar (20’ & 30’), Leocadio Briceno (51’), Kevin “Motto” Alvarez (57’ & 90’) and Jael Ottley (90+’). With the 6-nil 2nd leg victory, Barrack Road thus posted an 11-2 aggregate win over Los Catrachos, and is now on to the semifinals this weekend.
In its initial release this morning, the FFB had set both semifinal games at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium this weekend, one on Saturday night and the other on Sunday afternoon; but they later sent a revised semifinals schedule, which will have a game each in Belmopan and Belize City this weekend. Below is the complete semifinals schedule:
Semifinals 1st Leg
Saturday, June 22
7:30 p.m. – Club Atletico vs Barrack Road FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Sunday, June 23
4:30 p.m. – Caesar Ridge FC vs Roaring Creek United – MCC Grounds
Semifinals 2nd Leg
Saturday, June 29
7:30 p.m. – Roaring Creek United vs Caesar Ridge FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Sunday, June 30
4:00 p.m. – Barrack Road FC vs Club Atletico – MCC Grounds
It is an interesting scenario in the semifinals, where two teams have the state-of-the-art Isidoro Beaton Stadium as their home field, while the other two play out of the run-down and dilapidated MCC Grounds that was once called “The Garden.”