Kodjo Laba scores four as Al Ain crush Al Dhafra in Adnoc Pro League

Defending champions storm to a 7-0 victory at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium

Kodjo Laba celebrates after scoring four goals in Al Ain’s 7-0 triumph over Al Dhafra in the Adnoc Pro League at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium. Photo: PLC
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Al Ain bounced back from their frustrating draw at Ajman on the opening night of the Adnoc Pro League season by thrashing Al Dhafra 7-0 at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.

Kodjo Laba, the winner of both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards last season, led the charge with four goals for the defending champions.

It took just 11 minutes for Al Ain to open the scoring as Laba towered above the Dhafra defence to head home a Caio Canedo cross from the right flank.

The Togo international doubled the lead on 29 minutes before Ukrainian winger Andrii Yarmolenko fired in the third from inside the six-yard box to further stretch the lead six minutes later.

Laba completed his hat-trick two minutes before the break and added his fourth on 68 minutes. Danilo Arboleda and Sofiane Rahimi joined the party with a goal each in the final nine minutes to complete the rout.

Despite the emphatic victory, Al Ain manager Serhiy Rebrov was keen to keep his players grounded as they turn their focus on to the next game against Al Jazira on Thursday.

“It’s a great result but we earn only three points for the win,” the Ukrainian said. “We wasted a lot of time by celebrating every goal and I would like to stress on the players that this result is behind us and from now on we focus on our next game against Jazira.”

Al Nasr overcame Ajman 2-0 at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, while Kalba stunned Al Wahda 1-0 at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the other matches on the night.

Jassim Yaqoob Al Balooshi turned Jandir Breno Souza's cross into the back of the net for Nasr’s opening goal and Omar Juma struck deep into injury time to complete their victory.

Leandro leite’s strike on 34 minutes was enough for Kalba to bounce back from their opening day defeat to promoted Al Bataeh and leave Wahda on one point from two games.

Updated: September 11, 2022, 4:44 AM