Aussies slip while China stay bottom

Teerasil Dangda scoring past Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to put Thailand level 1-1 at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok. The 2-2 result means the Socceroos fall out of the automatic qualifying spots.
Teerasil Dangda scoring past Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to put Thailand level 1-1 at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok. The 2-2 result means the Socceroos fall out of the automatic qualifying spots.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK • Australia have dropped to third place in Group B of the World Cup 2018 Asian zone qualifiers, after a shock 2-2 draw with Thailand last night.

Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak scored two penalties, but the last-placed Thais held on to earn their first point after five games.

Teerasil Dangda also netted a double, his second coming from a spot kick, and the hosts were able to dedicate to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the "good result" coach Kiatisuk Senamuang promised in their first international since the beloved monarch's death on Oct 13.

Earlier yesterday, Japan defeated 10-man group leaders Saudi Arabia 2-1 to move to second place on goal difference with 10 points, leapfrogging over the Australians into the top two automatic qualification spots.

Australia had started the round three qualifiers well with two wins but have been held thrice since.

In Group A, South Korea beat Uzbekistan 2-1 to also take second place on 10 points, one behind Iran, who drew 0-0 against Syria.

New China coach Marcello Lippi's hopes of leading them to the next World Cup Finals received a serious blow when they were held 0-0 by Qatar in Kunming.

Lippi, who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, is tasked with setting China on the road to football greatness but there was no dream start in his first game in charge.

Instead, China remain rooted to the foot of Group A with two points from five games and scant hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia even with Lippi.

Qatar are second from bottom on five points.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Aussies slip while China stay bottom'. Print Edition | Subscribe