New Boyz Morrison, Johnson revel in performance that unravelled Saudia ArabiaSaturday, November 21, 2020
BY IAN BURNETT
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — “Well deserved” and “we were the better team” are two of the sentiments expressed by new kids on the block, Daniel Johnson and Ravel Morrison, after Jamaica's Reggae Boyz defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The victory enabled the visitors to even the two-game series at one win apiece after the hosts had thoroughly beaten the ill-prepared Boyz 3-0 in the first game last Saturday.
The England-based Johnson, a Jamaican-born who plays for Preston North End, curled in a beautiful left-footer to pull his team level six minutes after the hosts had taken the lead against the run of play in the 28th minute through striker Abdullah Alhamddan.
It was the first goal for Johnson in only his second game for the Caribbean side.
“It was a really good performance from everybody, a really well put together team effort, from the pressing, the organisation and the communication and just working as a team and I thought we deserved it,” said the 28-year-old Johnson, who played both games in central midfield.
“The game should have ended up five, at least, with the opportunities that we got, but yeah it was a really good organisation from the back to the front. We see that today's [Tuesday] game was completely different, so I thought we well deserved the win.”
For Morrison, he had no doubts that the Jamaicans were better, and not only in this game, but the second half of the first game as well.
“I think it was a solid performance from the whole team and the team dug in deep. I think we worked together and played well. I think we were the better team and I think in the last game in the second half we were the better team, but today we showed that we were the better team.
“Obviously last week it was difficult and as I said in the last interview, we didn't train, no one knew how people played, so yeah, the better team won on the night,” added the 27-year-old former Manchester United Academy graduate.
Though being with the team for just a short period of time, Johnson always believed that the players possessed the tools to do well against the Saudis.
“I said it from day one that once we get the training field and get in a couple of sessions, we are going to be ready and we showed it tonight [Tuesday]; that we were more than ready to go out there and proved ourselves that we are more than capable of competing.
“I think everyone kind of wrote us off after the first game, but like I said, the first game we really didn't get that preparation in and this one we got the preparation right. We got on the training field, we had meetings about how we wanted to play and how we wanted to stop them from playing and we just had to go out there and execute it and we've done more than that today.”
And for the man who always dreamt of representing the country of his birth, it was a joyous moment when he got his name on the score sheet.
“It was a proud moment, a really, really proud moment. I think scoring goals is always a nice feeling, so yeah for me to get my first one...was a really proud moment for me and my family, and hopefully, there is more to come,” said Johnson.
Now he's eagerly awaiting the next Fifa window for international games next March.
“I can't wait. I'm going back now to my club because the work doesn't stop. I think the next window is in March, it may seem a long time away but by the time you blink, it's going to come around. I can't wait to join up with these boys again and get back out there and once again show what we can do as a team and going forward…and keep building, keep progressing and just trust the process because at the moment it is a process. Just try and get everyone together, get them to gel, get them the confidence with the group.”
Morrison, long sought after by the Jamaica Football Federation, is also eagerly awaiting the next set of international games.
“It's a shame that the next one is next year because I think it would be good if we can get some more friendlies in before like the World Cup qualifiers begin so we can gel as a team because if you look at tonight's performance, we've got a solid team, but we need to manage it now and see how everyone works and everyone plays.
“I'm happy to have come and hopefully, we build from this one,” he ended.
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