In a thrilling away game, Al Ain etched their name into the AFC Champions League knockout stage after clinching a riveting 3-2 victory over Saudi Arabia's Al-Fayha.
This decisive Group A match unfolded at Riyadh's King Fahd International Stadium, a battle that underscored the fourth round of the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League's group fixtures.
Al Ain's striker Laba Kodjo led the charge with an impressive brace, finding the net in the 29th and 40th minutes.
Soufian Rahimi added to the tally in the 64th minute, ensuring a strong position for the UAE-based club.
Al-Fayha's Anthony Nwakaeme and Mohanad Al-Qaydhi managed to score in the 53rd minute and deep into stoppage time, respectively, keeping the suspense alive until the final whistle.
Concurrently, Ahal FC from Turkmenistan played to a 1-1 draw against Uzbek giants Pakhtakor in Ashgabat, an outcome that played in Al Ain's favor.
The victory propels Al Ain to an unassailable lead in Group A, with a perfect record of 12 points from four matches, significantly ahead of their group counterparts Pakhtakor and Ahal, both standing at 4 points and Al-Fayha at 3 points.
Al Ain's stellar performance not only guarantees them the pole position in their group but also cements their place in the next stage of the continent's elite club competition.