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Premier League of Belize: Progresso, Port Layola play under impression away goals don’t count; 2-2 aggregate score qualifies Port to Finals on away goals

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2023. 1:25 pm CST.

Progresso first eleven for game vs Port Layola on Sunday – Photo Credit: Progresso

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Progresso and Port Layola played the Premier League of Belize second semifinal at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex in Belize City on Sunday under the impression the away goals that were to determine the winners in case of an aggregate draw wouldn’t count, despite the PLB rules clearly stating otherwise.

From reports within the PLB, both teams were under the impression that when Progresso scored at the end of the first half, they were going into extra time if the score held up to the end of the game since they would be tied 2-2 on aggregate. Port Layola had won Game One 2-1 the previous week in Orange Walk.

Progresso coach Jorge Nunes told Breaking Belize News that both teams were advised at Saturday’s technical meeting with the game commissioner that the away goal(s) wouldn’t count. He said that knowing that they were going to extra time if the score held up, he withheld his three substitutions until extra time.

A check with Port Layola manager Leaton St Claire confirmed Nunes’ claim that the teams were given that advice at their meeting with the game commissioner and director of referees on Saturday.

Port Layola’s first XI vs Progresso on Sunday – (Photo Credit: Port Layola)

PLB Secretary General Wilhelm Miguel confirmed that the referees’ assessor of the match consulted the PLB before the match was over asking what would happen if the aggregate score remained at 2-2 and was advised that Port would win because of the away goals they had scored in Orange Walk as per the PLB regulations and no extra time would be required.

Progresso needed to win 2-1 to force overtime. A 2-0 win would have given them the ticket.

The game commissioner and referees fall under the Football Federation of Belize and not the Premier League of Belize. It would appear they were not cognizant of the section of the present PLB regulations.

But knowing that, it begs the question why neither team checked with the PLB during or after Saturday’s meeting, as they had been previously advised by the PLB what the regulations were.

Miguel said PLB representatives had met with all four semifinalists before the semifinals started and were reminded of the semifinal regulations, in particular the away goal rule.

“At the conclusion of 90 minutes of regulation time in the second leg of any series, the team with the greater aggregate score determined in accordance with Article Ill.B.5 above, shall advance to the finals. If both teams have equal point totals, equal goal difference and equal number of goals scored, the team with the greater number of goals scored away from its designated home venue shall advance to the finals,” the PLB Regulations read under Organization of the Competition, Final Phase, Section C4 n reference to the semifinals format.

Under Section C 5, the rules further say:

“At the conclusion of 90 minutes of regulation time in the second leg of any series, the team with the greater aggregate score determined in accordance with Article Ill.B.5 above, shall advance to the finals. If both teams have equal point totals, equal goal difference and equal number of goals scored, the team with the greater number of goals scored away from its designated home venue shall advance to the finals.”

The PLB source also said that the PLB Regulations are approved by the FFB, Concacaf, and FIFA.

Miguel said Progresso have the option of protesting the information provided to them in the technical meeting, but said the scores remain as per the PLB regulations.

Port Layola now go on to face Altitude who beat Verdes 1-0 twice in the semifinals.

 

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