Frontrunners Bahrain rallied to a fortuitous 1-1 draw against Thailand to keep their unbeaten run intact in the FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers at the National Stadium in Manama on Saturday. Hardworking Thonglao Datsakorn put the visitors ahead in the 65th minute with a fine long-ranger and Salman Isa equalised two minutes later to keep Bahrain at the top of Group 'B' with 10 points.
It was Thailand's first point in this third round of the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa. Japan, who drew with Oman earlier in the day, are second on seven points and Oman third with four.
The point may have come too late for Thailand, but for Bahrain it was a fairytale run coming to a screeching halt in front of their adoring fans. It may not have dented their chances of progressing to the fourth round, but it dramatically exposed a weak underbelly.
Bahrain, who were reduced to 10-men midway through the second-half. Midfielder Abdulla Fatai, who was included in place of suspended captain and key midfielder Mohammed Hussain, was shown the red card in the 56th minute for elbowing Teeratep Winothai.