Injuries diminish San Pedro's performance - Juventus triumphs 1 - nil

Sunday September 22 was supposed to have been a day to remember for the San Pedro Football Club and its fans - the long awaited match with Juventus Caribbean at Ambergris Stadium took place. San Pedro expected to defeat Juventus, the current 1st place team in the semi-pro playoffs but it turned out to be 90 minutes filled with disappointment after disappointment. Everything went wrong. The best planned plays and strategies failed. In spite of an excellent defense, San Pedro was crippled without Mario Sikonga and Oliver Hendricks, the islander's two strikers. In the first half San Pedro struck for a goal 14 times. Juventus' goalkeeper Charlie Slusher made 6 saves; 8 kicks were either high or wide. At the other end of the field, San Pedro's goalkeeper Delmar Sutherland had little to do. The tight defense allowed Juventus only two direct attempts, both were stopped by Sutherland. With 6 minutes remaining, Juventus intercepted a pass, kicked a long shot down field to undefended striker Tun who struck an unstoppable cannonball into the net putting Juventus on the scoreboard 1 nil.

San Pedro dominated the second half of the game, making 13 attempts for goals. Slusher saved three and deflected a penalty kick. Eight more attempts were again too high or too wide. Injuries beset both teams. A head-on collision took Marcelino Tun and Landy Pinelo off the field with injuries. The stretcher bearers made four trips onto the field to remove injured players. In spite of the roughness of players, very few penalties were called and both teams exhibited gentlemanly behavior - shaking hands after on field collisions and assisting a fallen player to his feet.

In response to San Pedro's protest regarding controversial or one-sided calls by referees, the officials present for the match were of the highest professional quality. None of their calls were disputed. Also in attendance was Mr. Delhart Courtenay, the head of sports in Belize and an inspector of Fifa Referees. The inspector was not present in an official capacity.

San Pedro and Orange Walk fans should be commended on their sportsmanlike behavior. Only two incidents occurred. Assistant Inspector of Police Dean Lozano confiscated a hand gun from an Orange Walk fan. The man, who appeared to have been drinking insisted he had a permit (license) to carry the weapon. He was informed he could retrieve the gun at the police station following the game. He loudly stated that this was the last time he was coming to San Pedro. After the game, a group of ladies from San Pedro were also quite expressive in their comments to the visiting team and the officials. The football club closed the bar and the players and fans sadly left the stadium.

In other action in the semi-finals, Verdes defeated Acros, giving Verdes a second place advantage over San Pedro in the upcoming September 29 match at Ambergris Stadium. Juventus continues in first place; Verdes second; San Pedro third and Acros remains in fourth place.

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