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Jan 19, 2015

Belmopan Bandits win the PLB Championship

Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.

 

The road to the PLB 2014 title reached money time Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton stadium inside Belmopan where 2 teams entered on equal footing after a scoreless stalemate in game 1 of the championship series. Belmopan Bandits with 3 of last 4 titles had made the necessary adjustments going in while Police United kept struggling with the available personnel. The Bandits make the first move with this long distance dial from Elroy Kuylen that quickly exposes Keith Allen’s weakness when he comes off his line. However, it’s the Police with the best chance to impress the scoreboard when Clifton West beats Dalton Eiley to a compromised possession and gets the ball over Woodrow West who would never recover. Unfortunately, the bounce provides just enough time for Shane Armstrong to pull off a spectacular defensive save. At the other end, this set piece launch from Denmark Lacey Jr. almost concludes in the dread auto goal so the Police sign with relief. Nevertheless, Byron usher’s reach to wrest possession from Evan Mariano is harshly interpreted as a penalty by the referee much to the dismay of the Police. Goalkeeper Woodrow West abandons his stake to become penalty kicker and is rather successful at it to give the bandits a 1-zip lead 23 minutes in. 7 minutes later, Trevor Lennon seeks the far corner for the equalizer – he finds it but so does this unbelievable save from Woodrow West.

In the meantime, this save by West shows why he picked up international fame as national team goalkeeper. Trevor Lennon gets a 2nd chance to tie the score but misses this header from point blank range. We’re into 2nd half play when David Madrid beats the Police defense line with this run but this time Keith Allen does the job when he comes off his line and then is assisted by the wood work. Andres Makin Jr. then gets this look at goal but squander the opportunity to tie the score for the Police. We say both teams do squander because Jordy Polanco can double the Bandits lead and fails to do so when he should have. At the 67th minute, this set piece finds the head of Elroy Kuylen which ricochets off the far upright right back to him and this time his offering gives Belmopan a 2-zip lead.  It’s all Bandits now and while it has a look of offside, Jordy Polanco benefits after 2 tries to give his team a 3-zip lead at the 73 minute. This breaks the back of the Police. Off this Bandits corner kick, the defensive header reaches Denmark Casey Jr. and his full volley is a masterpiece to behold for the 4-zip final score. The long whistle brings the official announcement that Belmopan Bandits is PLB Champion in the 2014/2015 Tournament.

We say congratulations to Shamir Pacheco of Verdes who emerged with MVP honors. Dalton Eiley of Bandits is Best Defense; teammate Jordy Polanco is voted Best Midfielder; Tevin Gamboa of B.D.F. is best Goalkeeper. Harrison Roches scored 8 to be the league’s goleador and the Verdes team is voted as Best Management. Congratulations to the Belmopan Bandits, who have now won 4 of the last 5 PLB Tournaments and to the Police United, we say it ain’t over till it’s over. Meanwhile, the PLB closing season begins on the 31st January with 9 teams participating.

In other football news, with San Martin FC already into the Belmopan 1st Division Championship, Alliance United and Cotton Tree FC battled for the remaining spot at the Isidoro Beaton yesterday. Alliance United comes up with the 1st strike when Lincoln Wiltshire leads to Israel Clavel who opens the scoreboard. Some 10 minutes later, Clavel turns provider and the nice on the run pink from Brian Membrano makes it 2-nil. In late 1st half Ruddy Ramirez slices perfectly to Selvin Morales whose volley makes it a 2 – 1 score. Alliance then pushes the lead when Israel Clavel deals to Wayne Wiltshire who calmly smacks it into the far corner for the 3 – 1 big W and into the championship round. This January 25th 3:30 PM Alliance United will face San Martin FC at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.

In international football news, the national male team of Belize begins its world cup qualifier with 1st round play on 23rd March against the Cayman Island here in Belize….return match will be between the 8th and 16th June. If Belize gets past this round, we move on to face the Dominican Republic.

Jah over all, I’m James Adderley.

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