Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2019. 8:14 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Defending champions Belmopan Bandits and upstarts San Pedro Pirates are in the driver’s seats of their semifinal encounters with Verdes F.C. and Belize Defence Force F.C., respectively, in the opening week of the Premier League of Belize’s closing season season.
Bandits rode their luck with superstar strikers Honduran Georgie Welcome and Trimayne Harris who led the way to a 4-3 victory over Western rivals Verdes at the Football Federationof Belize (FFB) Stadium this evening.
In a tightly contested game, Verdes, who moved their home game from Broaster stadium to the FFB stadium, were the more aggressive side, firing 16 shots to nine (9) for the Bandits, and holding the ball 60 percent of the 90 minutes of match time. Each team had six (6) shots on target.
But they had no answers for Harris, who scored the opener, nor for the resurgent Welcome, who showed a dip in form with only four (4) goals in the closing season compared to 17 in the opening season. He hit three (3) goals today.
The other match at the MCC Grounds in Belize City saw visiting San Pedro, the tournament’s top seed, defeat B.D.F. by a single goal to nil.
The return matches are scheduled for May 4 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan and the Ambergris Stadium in La Isla Bonita.
The winners advance on aggregate to the finals which kicks off in two weeks’ time.
In other football news, the Bandits have secured Belize’s spot in the CONCACAF League, the pre-qualifier to the CONCACAF (Club) Champions League later this year.
This is the Bandits’ third straight appearance in the League, but they have so far been unable to get past the first round, losing on aggregate to Walter Ferreti of Nicaragua in 2017 and to Motagua of Honduras in 2018. Belize’s last appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League was with Police United in the 2016-2017 season, when they went out at the group stage.
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