Photo: Altitude striker Delone Torres (left) beats Progresso goalie Luisito Cunil (right) before collapsing with extended right knee.
San Pedro 2-2 Verdes; Progresso 1-2 Altitude
by William Ysaguirre
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 14, 2022
Thanks to technology and some good telecasts by TNC 10 and sports commentator Raynord Garbutt on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, fans across the country got to view two very tightly contested first leg matches in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2022-2023 Opening Season home-and-away semi-finals. Both games went “down to the wire,” and the final results this coming weekend are anything but academic, with no team having a commanding lead going into game 2.
On Saturday night, November 12, at the Ambergris Stadium, #3 seed hosts San Pedro Pirates FC and #2 seed defending champions Verdes FC ended in a 2-2 draw, with each team scoring in injury time. Desmond Wade (60’) gave Verdes the first half lead, but Andir Chi (80’) got the late equalizer for San Pedro. It looked like a 1-1 draw, until San Pedro got what seemed the game winner from Mexican import Eric Roman (90+3’) in injury time. But it was seconds before the final whistle when Krisean Lopez (90+5’) knotted the score again for Verdes with a low grounder from the top of the eighteen.
On Sunday afternoon at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk, the young #4 seed Progresso FC hosts battled gamely against the seasoned league standings leader #1 seed Altitude FC, and seemed to have secured a draw ten minutes before regulation, only to concede a goal two minutes later and end up on the losing end of a 2-1 score. Altitude completely dominated possession throughout the game (72% to 28%) but couldn’t get on the score card until second half when right wing Delone Torres (54’) received a centering pass from left wing Miguel Garcia and volleyed from close range, only to extend his right knee on landing unevenly after the goal scoring shot, and having to leave the game immediately. (Delone will almost certainly be unavailable for the return match this coming Sunday in Independence.) Some confusion in the Altitude defense on a Progresso corner from the left side, and it was Progresso’s Dedron Baptist (80’) driving in an un-contested header at close range to tie the score at 1-1. But just two minutes later it was Altitude’s Brazilian import Aloisio Teizeira (82’) draining a left foot grounder from a left-side cross-goal pass and it nicked the inside of the right goal post and into the net for the 2-1 Altitude win.
The decisive semi-final 2nd leg games this coming weekend will take the away-goal rule into consideration in case there is an aggregate tie in goals at the end of regulation.
PLB semi-finals Leg 2 schedule:
Saturday, November 19
7:30 p.m. – Altitude FC vs Progresso FC – M.A. Stadium in Independence
Sunday, November 20
4:00 p.m. – Verdes FC vs San Pedro Pirates FC – Norman Broaster Stadium