Football 2 years ago

Shaky Socceroos held to draw by Thailand

  • Shaky Socceroos held to draw by Thailand

    BANGKOK, THAILAND - NOVEMBER 15: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou speaks to his players as the Socceroos stop for drinks during a break in play of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Thailand and the Australia Socceroos at Rajamangala National Stadium on November 15, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Socceroos have slipped to third in their World Cup qualifying group after a shaky display allowed stragglers Thailand to hold Australia to a 2-2 draw.

Despite skipper Mile Jedinak's two penalty goals, Ange Postecoglou's disjointed national team handed last-placed Thailand their first point in the final phase of qualifying at Bangkok's Rajamangala National Stadium, in a result that could come back to bite them in next year's crucial second set of fixtures.

Japan's 2-1 win over Group B leaders Saudi Arabia earlier on Tuesday night lifted the Samurai Blue to second and shunted Australia (nine points) out of the top two automatic qualification spots.

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The Socceroos did fulfil their desire for an early goal when a solid spell of pressure forced Thailand defender Pratum Chuthong to handball in the box inside 10 minutes.

Jedinak was calm from the spot, slotting a cool finish past goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan.

Opportunities galore gave early indications the scoreline could easily have blown out as as the Socceroos scythed through their hosts' leaky defence.

But Thailand capitalised on the little possession they had and, out of nothing, drew level with worrying ease.

They stroked the ball around before charging through the guts, exposing the otherwise well-performing Brad Smith with a through-ball that allowed Teerasil Dangda to slot home off a neat cross.

That changed the complexion of the game and Thailand started penetrating Australia's defence with regularity, playmaker Chanathip 'Messi J' Songkrasin forcing Mat Ryan into one of numerous close saves.

The Socceroos, meanwhile, failed to whittle their possession into anything meaningful, their Jamie Maclaren-led line at times seemingly on different wavelengths while simple passes were miscontrolled and offsides were plentiful.

The way coach Ange Postecoglou stormed off at the break signalled a halftime lashing was coming, yet it made little difference.

It was all one-way traffic in favour of the winless hosts, and one foray forced early goal contender Mathew Leckie into an unnecessary challenge on Thai captain Theeraton Bunmathan.

Almost as soon as Teerasil sent the subsequent penalty past Ryan for the lead, Postecoglou switched to a diamond formation, substituting Maclaren and Leckie for veteran Mark Milligan and forward Nathan Burns, who rifled a long-range bullet into the crossbar.

The change brought an almost immediate effect as Siroch Chatthong fouled Jedinak and allowed him to restore parity with a penalty.

But even after the in-form Jackson Irvine was brought on for an injured Matthew Spiranovic, there would be no winner.

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