GUYANA scraped a point in their CONCACAF Nations League opening game against Barbados last evening when the Golden Jaguars roared to a 2-2 draw.
However, head coach Michael Johnson said the result feels like a loss, especially taking into consideration, that Guyana created more chances that their ‘Bajan’ counterparts.
“It’s a good point in the end (but) it actually feels like a loss, because in the first half, we could’ve been three or four (goals up). It could’ve gone to our side, and then, I don’t know what slackness/lazy play we conceded two silly goals but fair play to the team, they found it in themselves to dig deep,” a usually candid Johnson told reporters at the post-game press conference.
Johnson’s disappointment could be reflected in the match statistics, which showed that Guyana were by far the superior side on the pitch.
The Golden Jaguars had 14 shots to goal as compared to Barbados’ eight, but six of Guyana’s attempts were off target, one hit the woodwork, while five went to ‘Bajan’ keeper.
Trayon Bobb’s goal in the 46th minute placed Guyana in the lead, but Carlisle United talisman Hallam Hope netted twice (65th and 73rd) before Neil Danns scored in the 78th minute. This turned out to be the game’s decisive goal that salvaged a point for the Golden Jaguars.
Danns doubled down on Johnson’s comment, that “the game feels like a loss. A couple of years ago we would’ve been jeering the result, but today, the standards are set so high for the team based on what we have, so this does feel like a loss, but what we do, we take the positives and just move on as a team”.
The former Leicester City and Crystal Palace ace also opined that “it was a difficult turf to play football on, there’s a lot of quality within our team, sometimes it’s hard to show that on the pitch, but we had a game plan with the gaffer implemented in the first half and like he said, we could’ve been three or four but on another day, we are going to take the positives from the game. We went 2-1 down and the boys showed real character to come back and clinch that game”.
It was Johnson’s first time in charge of a senior National team and the former Derby County defensive standout made it clear while he was certain of a positive start and securing three points, “it’s great to obviously get a result first and foremost, but moving forward it will be better, because I’m learning about the players, where they prefer to play, the combination of certain players.”
“For me, this has been an absolute massive positive all round; number one we get the result, we also scored goals and the learning the staff and myself have will make us better going forward,” said Johnson, who also played internationally with Jamaica.
The Golden Jaguars will now travel to The Turks and Caicos Islands for a meeting between the two countries on October 13, followed by an encounter against French Guiana on November 20, before hosting Belize in March, 2019.