KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opened their Premier League challenge with a 2-0 victory over newcomers SDM Kepala Batas of Penang at the Likas Stadium last night.
Two second-half goals from teenager Leopold Alphonso Otong and Zainizam Marjan ensured Sabah of victory in front of about 1,000 home fans.
Chances were limited in the first half.
The homesters only managed to create twice with the first coming in the 14th minute through debut boy – Alto Linus.
However, he saw his shot hit the goalpost while on the second occasion his header went wide after receiving a cross from Julamri Muhammad.
The visitors only managed to make a long range effort as they failed to penetrate Sabah’s solid defence marshaled by Mohd Fariss Azlan Mat Isa and Hardy Charles Parsi.
But three minutes after the break, Leopold, a former Bukit Jalil Sports School trainee, showed his mettle.
Sabah had the chance to extend their lead, but unfortunately Rezuan Khan Aman’s grounder went wide after a fine one-two with Zainizam inside the box.
Then it was Alto’s turn to squander the Rhinos’ half chance by sending a weak shot that also went wide.
Sabah then sealed their victory with a cool finish by the stand-in captain Zainizam.
The former international blasted the second seven minutes from time by sending a powerful low drive from inside the box.
It could have been more goals from the Rhinos if they were a little sharper upfront.
In the dying minutes, they had numerous chances of extending their lead, but none of it found the net with Alto missing twice while Mohd Fariss failed to connect with Radzi Mohd Hussin’s corner.