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Premier League of Belize to decide Opening Season finalists on Sunday

Posted: Friday, December 8, 2023. 12:17 pm CST.

PLB Verdes champs with their backs against the wall – Photo Credit: Verdes/Wilton Ixtecoc Photograph

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Premier League of Belize Opening Season finalists will be decided by the second leg of the semifinals on Sunday.

After falling 1-0 to Altitude in the first leg at Independence, PLB Champions and regular season leaders Verdes have their backs against the wall. Verdes need to win by two goals to qualify for the Finals.  Altitude only need a draw. Their second leg match is set for Sunday at 3:30 pm at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio. Due to the poor lighting at the Norman Broaster should extra time and penalties be required, the match was set for a half-an-hour earlier start.

For their part, Port Layola have the edge having beaten Progresso 2-1 last week in Orange Walk last Saturday. They just need a draw to advance while Progresso need to beat them by two goals. Their game kicks off at 4:00 pm.

According to the PLB championship regulations, at the end of both games, the team that has the greater aggregate score advances to the finals. Should both teams have equal points, equal goal difference and equal number of goals scored, the team with the greater number of goals scored away advances to the finals. The PLB said that if both teams also have equal number of away goals, the series will be decided by extra time and penalties if necessary.

Extra time consists of two 15-minute periods. If the score is still tied after extra time, penalty kicks will be taken to decide the winning team. The penalty kicks will be 5v5 using the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) kicking order. If the score is still level, penalty kicks will then be 1v1 until a winner is decided.

For the Finals, the team with the better aggregate score wins the championship. In the case of an even aggregate score, the away goals don’t count, and the series goes to extra time and penalties if necessary to determine the champions.

The following are the IFAB’s regulations for a penalty shoot-out under Law 10, Determining The Outcome of A Match

10.3 Penalties (penalty shoot-out)

Penalties (penalty shoot-out) are taken after the match has ended and unless otherwise stated, the relevant Laws of the Game apply. A player who has been sent off during the match is not permitted to take part; warnings and cautions issued to players and team officials during the match are not carried forward into penalties (penalty shoot-out).


Before penalties (penalty shoot-out) start

  • Unless there are other considerations (e.g. ground conditions, safety etc.), the referee tosses a coin to decide the goal at which the kicks will be taken, which may only be changed for safety reasons or if the goal or playing surface becomes unusable
  • The referee tosses a coin again, and the team that wins the toss decides whether to take the first or second kick
  • With the exception of a substitute for a goalkeeper who is unable to continue, only players who are on the field of play or are temporarily off the field of play (injury, adjusting equipment etc.) at the end of the match are eligible to take kicks
  • Each team is responsible for selecting from the eligible players the order in which they will take the kicks. The referee is not informed of the order
  • If at the end of the match and before or during the kicks one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce its numbers to the same number as its opponents and the referee must be informed of the name and number of each player excluded. Any excluded player is not eligible to take part in the kicks (except as outlined below)
  • A goalkeeper who is unable to continue before or during the kicks may be replaced by a player excluded to equalise the number of players or, if their team has not used its maximum permitted number of substitutes, a named substitute, but the replaced goalkeeper takes no further part and may not take a kick
  • If the goalkeeper has already taken a kick, the replacement may not take a kick until the next round of kicks

During penalties (penalty shoot-out)

  • Only eligible players and match officials are permitted to remain on the field of play
  • All eligible players, except the player taking the kick and the two goalkeepers, must remain within the centre circle
  • The goalkeeper of the kicker must remain on the field of play, outside the penalty area, on the goal line where it meets the penalty area boundary line
  • An eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper
  • The kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any offence; the kicker may not play the ball a second time
  • The referee keeps a record of the kicks
  • If the goalkeeper commits an offence and, as a result, the kick is retaken, the goalkeeper is warned for the first offence and cautioned for any subsequent offence(s)
  • If the kicker is penalised for an offence committed after the referee has signalled for the kick to be taken, that kick is recorded as missed and the kicker is cautioned
  • If both the goalkeeper and the kicker commit an offence at the same time, the kick is recorded as missed and the kicker is cautioned.

Subject to the conditions explained below, both teams take five kicks

  • The kicks are taken alternately by the teams
  • Each kick is taken by a different player, and all eligible players must take a kick before any player can take a second kick
  • If, before both teams have taken five kicks, one has scored more goals than the other could score, even if it were to complete its five kicks, no more kicks are taken
  • If, after both teams have taken five kicks, the scores are level, kicks continue until one team has scored a goal more than the other from the same number of kicks
  • The above principle continues for any subsequent sequence of kicks but a team may change the order of kickers
  • Penalties (penalty shoot-out) must not be delayed for a player who leaves the field of play. The player’s kick will be forfeited (not scored) if the player does not return in time to take a kick

Substitutions and sendings-off during penalties (penalty shoot-out)

  • A player, substitute, substituted player or team official may be cautioned or sent off
  • A goalkeeper who is sent off must be replaced by an eligible player
  • A player other than the goalkeeper who is unable to continue may not be replaced
  • The referee must not abandon the match if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players”


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