BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 12, 2021– A week ago, last Thursday, August 5, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Belize’s Verdes FC held visiting Santos de Guapiles of Costa Rica scoreless until the 90th minute, but ended up on the losing end of a 1-nil score in the first leg of their 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf League Preliminary Round match-up. Verdes featured all of six foreign players in their starting line-up in front of an empty stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions still in effect in Belize. Verdes had a few good opportunities but failed to capitalize. Nevertheless, it was still a respectable showing for Verdes, considering that there is currently, and for over a year now, no Premier League of Belize football action taking place.
The game was shown live on Belize’s TNC Channel 10.
The return match is reportedly scheduled for August 18 in Costa Rica.
Below is the concacaf.com story:
Mora’s late strike pushes Santos past Verdes
MIAMI, Florida, Updated on 06 Aug 2021
A 90th minute goal from Denilson Mora earned Costa Rica’s Santos de Guapiles a 1-0 win over Verdes FC of Belize in the first leg of the 2021 SCL Preliminary Round on Thursday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Belize.
Verdes were keen to get off to a good start and Jesse August had a pair of good looks in the first 45 minutes.
The first came in the 23’, followed by another in the 36’ that hit off the post and spared Santos GK Kevin Ruiz from conceding the game’s first goal.
The early warning shots from the hosts woke up the visiting Ticos, and they closed the first half on the front foot with a pair of shots that had Verdes GK Woodrow West on high alert.
Verdes were rejuvenated to start the second stanza and a right-footed shot from Junior Vargas in the 50’ barely sailed over the crossbar, followed by Edwin Villeda Bernal firing wide in the 58’.
Back came Santos and they controlled the final half-hour, starting with Erson Mendez looking set to break the deadlock in the 64’, but his shot was a straightforward save for West.
Six minutes later in the 70’ Luis Paradela had a good look at goal when the Verdes defense failed to clear, but he hooked his left-footed shot wide.
Javon East was also presented with two opportunities for the game’s first goal, first nodding a header over the crossbar in the 77’ and then sending a header goalward in the 80’ that was saved by Ruiz.
Just when it looked like things would end scoreless, an inch-perfect cross from Osvaldo Rodriguez in the 90’ found the stretched-out leg of Mora, who stabbed home past West to earn Santos the 1-0 win.