By Simon Duncan
TEHRAN, Iran — Thailand’s national football team drew 2-2 with Iraq in a World Cup qualifier played in Iran last night, leaving them at the top of their group.
The match was technically a home game for Iraq, but was played in neighboring Iran for security reasons.
Thailand went into the game knowing that a draw would be enough to see them top Group F of the Asian section of the preliminary qualifying round for World Cup 2018. Aside from Thailand and Iraq, Group F is completed by Taiwan and regional rivals Vietnam.
The match kicked off at 6:30pm local time and by halftime Thailand was in the lead through striker Mongkol Thosakrai who netted in the 39th minute. Iraqi substitute Mahdi Kamil levelled things in the 66th minute before Adisak “Golf” Kraisorn restored the lead for the war elephants. Ali Adnan levelled things again when he scored for Iraq in the dying moments of the game.
The draw means that Thailand top their qualifying group with 14 points from six games. They now progress to the third round of qualifying games, consisting of two groups of six teams. The draw for the third round will be held on 12 April 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.
Thailand has never qualified for the World Cup.