PETALING JAYA: Drren Lok stole the thunder from Brazilian striker Ramon Machado as Sabah won their opening Group H game in the AFC Cup.
The Rhinos beat Hougang United 3-1 at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday with Darren striking two goals.
Playing as the second striker to Machado, the 32-year-old Malaysian scored in the 38th and 63rd minutes, while centreback Gabriel Peres scored the first goal in the fifth minute.
The Singaporean club’s consolation came through Japanese centreback Kazuma Takayama in the 61st minute.
Darren deservedly took the man of the match award, thanks to his two goals and overall attacking performance.
His passing accuracy was at 81% and his shot-on-target was at 80%. He made seven passes into the final third and 55 touches in the attacking area.
Darren was also strong defensively when he made four clearances and nine recoveries.
Such a fine performance bodes well for Sabah and Harimau Malaya as he is slowly etching himself as the top striker in Malaysia.
“We are happy to start our AFC Cup campaign with three points. I thought we deserved the win, the pitch made it more difficult but we got the job done,” said Darren.
“I played in a deeper role behind Ramon against Hougang, which I enjoyed. I’m happy to play any position.”
Darren now looks forward to the crunch game against Perak in the Malaysia Cup second-leg quarter-final at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Monday.
“It won’t be an easy task against Perak in Ipoh but we will surely give our all to get to the semis,” added Darren, who will then shift his focus back to the AFC Cup.”