BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 7, 2019– It’s been a “neck and neck” Bandits-Verdes race from Week 1 of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2019-2020 Opening Season, and the two teams remain undefeated after Week 10 games this past weekend; but for the first time this season, Verdes FC is the sole standings leader, after their seventh victory yesterday in Dangriga over winless FF Valley Pride, while the Bandits were held to a draw in Mango Creek by Altitude FC. Though they were tied in points from Week 1 right through to Week 9 (3-3, 6-6, 9-9, 10-10, 13-13, 13-13, 16-16, 17-17, 18-18, 21-21), the Bandits always maintained the top spot by virtue of their bigger “goal difference.” But in Week 10, their was a seismic shift, as not only did Verdes take a 2-point lead over the Bandits, but their huge margin of victory, 10-1, over Valley Pride also caused them to overtake Bandits in the goal difference column. (See Week 10 standings below.)
We haven’t received the scoring details yet, but we are reliably informed of the weekend results as follows: On Saturday night in Mango Creek, Altitude FC came back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 with Bandits SC. On Sunday afternoon in Placencia, defending champions San Pedro Pirates finally picked up their second win, a 3-2 victory over Placencia Assassins. Meanwhile, in Dangriga it was visiting Verdes FC clobbering FF Valley Pride, 10-1.
Here at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, it was an intense encounter, as visiting Wagiya SC came out in full attack mode, despite being short-staffed on their team bench. Early on, Wagiya had more shooting opportunities than BDF, but most of their shots were off the mark, and the few that were on target saw Glenford Chimilio proving his worth in goal for BDF. Left defender, Enfield Nunez of BDF did a splendid job containing Wagiya attacking football wizard Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton for most of the game. A beautiful free kick from 30 yards out by young Jesse August eluded Wagiya’s Nicaraguan goalie Oscar Palomino, to give BDF the 1-nil lead at the 24th minute. And when their big striker, Ralph Flores left the game ten minutes later with an injury, the Wagiya front line lost some of its fire power. Early in second half (at 62’), BDF’s Camilo Sanchez was taken down and referee Efrain Guy indicated penalty. With Camilo still shaken up, young Jesse August displayed poise beyond his years, nailing the penalty twice in the same left corner, after referee Guy had ordered a re-take due to a line violation by a BDF teammate. The proud Wagiya team would not say “die,” and kept pressing forward, until Bredda Thurton finally eluded the BDF defence along the right goal line and centered a grounder across the “murder” goal. Chimilio had dived to cover the ball properly; but, like with Verdes’ Woodrow West at the other end a couple weeks earlier, the ball bounced high on the uneven ground, off Chim’s shoulder, and into the chest of the oncoming Kenton Flores for Wagiya, who ran it into the goal at the 84th minute, cutting the BDF lead to 2-1. But it stayed that way till the long whistle, and BDF FC is a step closer to securing a playoff spot, while Wagiya SC would now need a miracle.
The PLB tournament takes a pause this weekend due to Belize’s games against St. Kitts & Nevis in the Concacaf Nations League, on Thursday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, and on Sunday in St. Kitts & Nevis.