Hong Kong diary: Committee spot on with top award for Johnson
Dan Harrison's final diary entry from Villa's Hong Kong International Soccer Sevens trip.
21st May 2012
Hong Kong diary: Committee spot on with top award for Johnson

Villa may have had to settle for the runners-up spot at the end of an incredible weekend of Soccer Sevens entertainment, but there will be one piece of silverware returning with the squad on the flight home.

Skipper Daniel Johnson was named player of the tournament following his five-goal haul that helped Villa into the final.

He joins an impressive claret and blue roll of honour - Jonathan Brewer [2002], Stephen Cooke [2004], Gabby Agbonlahor [2006], Zoltan Stieber [2007] and Barry Bannan [2008] having all scooped the award in previous years.

DJ received his gong from Soccer Sevens chairman Tony Bratsanos at a post-tournament ceremony.

Brastanos described Johnson as "the ultimate game changer" - an accurate summary of a goalscoring midfielder whose energetic playing style is perfect for this form of the game.

There were some outstanding individuals on show at this year's Soccer Sevens.

Of the non-Villa players, I personally enjoyed watching Rhys McCabe of Rangers, Chelsea midfielder Lucas Piazon and Newcastle's Marcus Maddison.

But there is absolutely no doubt that the committee were spot on with their choice of for the best player award.

Hong kong

It seems the good old British sporting term 'rain stopped play' also applies in Hong Kong - only on a much bigger scale.

This time, in fact, thunder and lightning stopped play.

Leicester's game against Yau Yee League Select in the Shield competition was brought to a halt by a downpour of epic proportions.

An almighty storm saw play suspended for just under an hour as the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens almost became the Hong Kong Water Polo Championships.

But credit to the football club staff who made quick work of restoring the astro turf to a playable state.

The heavy downpour wasn't the only soaking handed out on Sunday.

The wild scenes that followed Villa's dramatic golden goal win over Leicester will remain among my personal highlights of the trip.

Unfortunately I paid the price for getting swept away in the magic moment of a last-gasp Villa victory.

On making a sharp dash from the press box to pitchside to congratulate the triumphant Villans, one of the first players I came into contact with was goalkeeper Benji Siegrist who proceeded to spray the contents of his water bottle all over me!


Ajax have become synonymous with Total Football over the past four decades and some of their old boys still know how to turn on the style.

The AEGON Ajax All Stars - featuring the likes of Brian Roy and Martin Reuser - lit up the tournament on Sunday evening with a dazzling 6-1 victory in the Masters final against Top Class FC.

Top Class, a team of former Hong Kong internationals, have been no mugs in the Soccer Sevens in recent years and they took the lead against the Dutch aces.

But Reuser, who scored twice, and four-goal Kenneth Perez produced a footballing masterclass with a succession of spectacular goals - including two majestic chips to round off the scoring.

The torrential rain that made playing conditions extremely difficult didn't seem to bother Ajax.

It was a performance that certainly befitted the word 'Masters'.

A huge thank you to all of the Villa fans back home who logged on to our Villa Live text commentary to follow the tournament action.

The extremely early kick-off times didn't matter to those dedicated claret and blue followers who were keen to keep up to speed with the team's Soccer Sevens campaign.

Family members of young lions Josh Webb, Courtney Cameron and Reece Caira also tuned in to find out how their loved ones were getting on.

It was an absolute pleasure to describe two memorable days of football to our fans back home.

dan harrison,
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