The 32-year-old striker was truly on song against Negri Sembilan when he scored two goals in the 13th and 29th minutes to help the Rhinos win 3-1 at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday.
Spanish playmaker Miguel Cifuentes scored Sabah’s third goal in the 45th minute while Negri’s only goal came from Myanmar international winger Hein Htet Aung in the 90th minute.
But it was Machado who was the talk of the town. The whole stadium reverberated with his name after the final whistle as he has now scored six goals in seven league matches for Sabah. He joined the Borneo side last month from Azerbaijani club Gabala.
In the Malaysia Cup, he scored two goals to become the team’s top scorer in all competitions with eight goals.
When asked about his performance against the Deer, he was delighted.
“It was a magical night in front of the Sabah fans. We want to continue this good momentum to ensure we finish among the top teams in the league,” he said.
“It was nice to score two but most importantly, we got the three points. That, to me, is important.”
But his coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee was livid with the fact that they conceded a last-minute goal despite the three goals they scored.
“If they fought real hard, we would not have conceded. I was not happy when we conceded one goal. We were casual. If we want to play on the biggest stage, like the AFC Cup and Malaysia Cup, if we lose focus again, especially in the second-half, we will be punished. We cannot be lackadaisical when we take the lead.
“The international break comes at a good time. I hope to work on the weaknesses and come back with a better focus.”
Meanwhile, Negri coach K. Devan lamented his side’s first-half performance.
“First-half, we weren’t good. I know they could have done better. After half-time the performance was better but our first-half was just bad. We made a lot of mistakes and gave space to Sabah’s attackers,” he said.
“We were also not aggressive with our defensive work. We allowed Sabah to do whatever they wanted.”
Sabah are fourth in the standings with 42 points from 22 matches while Negri are ninth with 21 points from 21 games.