Nizhee Corozal fighting for 4th spot in Belize Bank Superleague playoffs

A mid-week match will determine whether Nizhee Corozal will win the 4th spot in the Belize Bank Super League football playoffs, as a win would give Nizhee 23 pts to tie with Santa Elena Synergy, who also have 23pts after they upset top-ranking Placencia Assassins 2-1 in Santa Elena on Sunday and San Felipe Barcelona eliminated themselves when they drew 4-4 with City boys, who had already advanced, at the M.C.C. garden on Sunday, July 11.

Nizhee Corozal has a better goal average than Synergy, but needs to win against Belize United on Wednesday night, as a win would give them 23pts and the 4th spot; a draw allows Synergy to advance. Belize United had transportation problems and could not make it for their scheduled game at the Ricalde Stadium on Sunday.

In Santa Elena, Placencia took an early 1-0 lead on Sunday when Rollin Burgess scored the Assassins’ 1st goal in the 32nd minute to lead 1-zip at the half.

In the 2nd half, Santa Elena’s Dean Flowers delivered the equalizer in the 57th minute, and the Santa Elena squad moved in for the kill. Their persistence paid off in the 87th minute, when Placencia defender Ernie White erred in that dreaded autogoal to give the Santa Elena boys the 2-1 win.

San Felipe Barcelona was already out of the running and their chances of qualifying depended on both Nizhee and Santa Elena losing, as they stood to score a maximum of 22pts by a win against the City Boys. San Felipe’s Oscar Ascevedo drew first blood with a header in the 13th minute of play. City boys’ Tyrone Linares tied the ball game at 1-1 in the 16th minute and a strike from City Boys’ Jack Dawson gave the home squad a 2-1 lead in the 20th minute. Then Harvey Cruz scored the village boys’ 2nd goal to tie the ball game 2-2.

The field was wet after a heavy downpour 2 hours before game time, and City Boys’ goalie Charlie Slusher could not hold onto the pill when Christopher Hendricks blasted in a 3rd goal for the village from point blank range in the 38th minutes to lead 3-2 at the half.

In the 2nd half, the San Felipe goalie also had trouble holding on to the ball on a long lob from the corner. He fumbled and Raymond “Killa” Gentle did not forgive, booting the ball into the net to tie the ball game at 3-3 in the 46th minute.

Gentle then set table for 1st division MVP Dalton Cayetano to race downfield, beat San Felipe’s Eric Rodriguez and nail home a 4th goal in the 78th minute.

The village squad now had their backs to the wall, but the City Boys’ defenders Mark Grant, Jack Dawson, Merlin Diaz and Shane Thurton had all run out of gas and could not keep up with Harvey Cruz when he penetrated up the right sideline and centered the ball for Victor Morales to finish with a header, tying the ball game at 4-4 before the final whistle.

The playoffs begin on Sunday, July 25.
Live and let live