KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Hai Phong FC of Vietnam handed Sabah FC their first defeat in three matches when they edged the visitors 3-2 in their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Group H match at the Lach Tray Stadium in Hanoi today.

The home team capitalised on their home ground advantage to go 2-0 up in the first half, courtesy of a 14th-minute pile-driver by Nguyen Huu Son and a left-footed shot by Dam Tien Dung four minutes later.

Although Sabah managed to reduce the deficit through Brazilian striker Ramon Machado, who nodded home a Darren Lok cross in the 71st minute, Hai Phong struck just a minute later through Dam to make it 3-1.

Sabah gave themselves a glimpse of hope when Gary Steven Robbat’s powerful shot from outside the box ended in the back of the net in the 80th minute but it proved to be too little, too late.

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The result, however, sees Sabah retain top spot in Group H with six points, the same as Hai Phong, who sit in second spot on goal difference. The two teams will meet again at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu on November 9.

Sabah, coached by Datuk Ong Kim Swee, had earlier defeated Hougang United of Singapore 3-1 before thrashing PSM Makassar of Indonesia 5-0. — Bernama

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