Two Saturday night games and four Sunday games were played over the weekend in Week 6 of the first Premier League of Belize competition, and it is shaping up to be a real dog fight for the meager two playoff spots allowed for each zone.
On Saturday night, F.C. Belize remained undefeated in the North, as they visited winless World F.C. at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio and promptly shut out the home squad with second half goals from Jeromy “Jarro” James (57 min) and rookie David Ramos (80 min). Meanwhile, further west at the Marshalleck Stadium, the home squad Hankook Verdes registered their first victory of the tournament, a come from behind win against visiting Belmopan Bandits. Floyd Jones put the Bandits up 1-nil at the 20th minute, but Verdes came back with 2nd half goals from Julian Maldonado (80 min) and Jaime Lozano (82 min), to grab the 2-1 win.
On Sunday, at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, Deon McCaulay made his debut with Belize Defence Force who now, despite being a point behind group leaders F.C. Belize and San Felipe Barcelona, has to be considered the power house in their group and a favorite to reach the playoffs. Already a strong squad, the addition of the superb attacking skills of Deon McCaulay allowed BDF to simply overpower a game San Pedro Seadogs squad who suffered their third loss of the tournament. San Pedro goalkeeper Alden “A.C.” Augustine did a yeoman’s job in goal, but Richard “Cheety” Jimenez beat him with a long looping center from the left wing that sank over his head into the right “pigeon hole” for the first goal at the 43rd minute. Harrison Tasher came off the BDF bench in 2nd half to hit the target twice, the first from a Deon McCaulay feed at the 64th minute, and the second a header just beside the left goalpost at the 77th to give BDF the 3-nil victory.
In other games yesterday, San Felipe Barcelona visited the People’s Stadium and came away with a 1-nil win over home standing Juventus, courtesy of a 5th minute strike by Eliazar Itza; in Placencia, Ashley Torres put the Placencia Assassins ahead at the 37th minute, but undefeated Police United came roaring back with goals from Lennox “Criminal” Castillo at the 42nd and Evan Mariano at the 51st minute, to give Police the 2-1 win; and at the Toledo Union Field, Ralph Flores (9 min) put home squad Paradise/Freedom Fighters up 1-nil, but Ismael Thompson (22 min) equalized for visiting San Ignacio United, and that’s how it ended, 1-1 ball game.
Week 6 is now history, and suddenly there are only 4 more weeks of Premier League football before the painful cut for the 4-team playoffs. Two teams from the North and two from the South will make the playoffs in this first (“Opening”) season of the year, and right now Police in the South seems to have the best chance to clinch a playoff spot with their fifth victory yesterday.
It is shaping up to be a real tough scramble for the few playoff spots in this abbreviated Premier League season (see standings below), with the only consolation being that in all likelihood, there will be a second (“Closing”) season to complete the year.