Al Ain came from behind to earn a 4-1 win over Al Dhafra at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in matchweek 5 of the Arabian Gulf League on Saturday.
Khalid Al Senani, who received the Goalkeeper of the Month award for October ahead of kickoff, continued to impress as he pulled off a number of saves to deny Al Ain from taking an early lead.
On the other side of the pitch, Dutch forward Mikhail Rosheuvel connected to a long pass inside the box before seeing his effort go wide just after the 10-minute mark.
Rosheuvel did hand Al Dhafra the lead less than 10 minutes later, when the guests capitalized on a defensive error from Al Ain to launch a counterattack that saw the 30-year-old go one-on-one with Khalid Eisa and slot the ball home.
Al Ain got a golden chance to instantly level the scoreline. After reviewing the VAR, the referee awarded Erik Jorgens a penalty after being brought down inside the box. Laba Kodjo stepped up and converted from the spot, bringing the game to a 1-1 draw.
Following a defensive mistake, October’s goalkeeper of the month Al Senani pulled off a brilliant save to deny Laba from handing Al Ain the lead 10 minutes before the break.
The VAR was involved again in the beginning of the second half and Al Ain were awarded a second penalty. Laba, however, failed to convert his second penalty, sending the ball high.
The Boss looked more dangerous after the break and had a number of chances to take the lead. Bauyrzhan Islamkhan’s effort went just inches wide of goal, while Laba’s header missed the target.
Al Ain’s pressure paid off in the final minutes of the game, as they scored two quick-fire goals to take a 3-1 lead. Laba’s headed ball found the head of Tsukasa Shiotani, who redirected it into the upper corner of the net in 89th minute.
Only one minute later, Caio’s effort was saved by Al Senani, but substitute Fahad Hadid was ready to pounce and tapped in the rebound.
Mohamed Abdelrahman thought he scored the fourth of the night in the first minute of injury time, but his brilliant effort was ruled out after consulting the VAR.
It was Laba, however, who scored the fourth goal in the dying moments of the game. Al Senani denied Caio’s header, only for the rebound to fall to the Togolese forward who slotted home to hand his side a 4-1 win.
This marks Al Ain’s second win of the season as they raised their tally to eight points. On the other hand, Al Dhafra fell to their second defeat in a row and are frozen on seven points.