KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah FC capitalised on home-ground advantage to beat Hougang United of Singapore 3-1 in their opening Group H match of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu last night.

The Rhinos went on the offensive right from the start to take a fifth-minute lead as Gabriel Peres thundered a header past Hougang goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam Abdullah.

The home team doubled their lead in the 37th minute when Darren Lok slotted home a corner taken by Saddil Ramdani.

The second half saw both teams going on the attack and Hougang managed to narrow the deficit when Takayama Kazuma headed home past Sabah goalkeeper Damien Lim in the 61st minute.

However, their joy was shortlived as Darren struck again two minutes later with another powerful header to make it 3-1, much to the delight of the home fans.

Meanwhile, in another Group H match, Hai Phong FC downed PSM Makassar of Indonesia 3-0 at the San Van Dong Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong, Vietnam.

Hai Phong clinched victory through goals by Erwin Gutawa (own goal, eighth minute); Nguyen Hu Son (73rd minute); and Joseph Mpande (86th minute). - Bernama

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