Thailand overwhelm Bahrain in U23 match

Thailand overwhelm Bahrain in U23 match

Qasim's beauty salvages point for Iraq

Thai players celebrate after beating Bahrain 5-0 in their opening match at the Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit on Wednesday. (Football Association of Thailand photo)
Thai players celebrate after beating Bahrain 5-0 in their opening match at the Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit on Wednesday. (Football Association of Thailand photo)

Thailand cruised past Bahrain in their opening AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group A match at the Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit, while Iraq and Australia ended in a draw.

The War Elephants stunned Bahrain in a 5-0 victory with Suphanat Mueanta scroring the first goal 12 minutes into the match and netting another 11 minutes before the game ended.

In-form Supachok Sarachat fired the ball into the net at 47th and Jaroensak Wongoarn scored twice in stoppage-time.

Iraq's Mohammed Qasim struck with a long range beauty to cancel out Australian Reno Piscopo's equally stunning free-kick as they settled for a 1-1 draw.

Qasim had only been on the field eight minutes before earning Abdulghani Shahad's side a point having seen Piscopo give the Socceroos the lead with a high quality strike into the top corner of Ali Khadim's goal.

Piscopo, who had been a threat throughout his 64 minutes on the field, put Australia ahead just two minutes before he was replaced by Zachary Duncan when he arrowed his free-kick from 25 yards beyond the outstretched hands of Khadim.

That goal was no less than the Australians deserved after dominating the second half until that point, with Iraq having offered little after an even first half.

A moment's silence was held prior to kick off in memory of those affected by the fires in Australia and, as the game developed, it was Graham Arnold's side who had the first sight of goal.

But, after Piscopo put his side in front in the 62nd minute, the Australians' advantage was to last just 15 minutes as Qasim pounced from 20 yards out, brushing aside Keanu Baccus before hitting a low shot that beat Thomas Glover via the inside of his left post.

Glover managed to put a hand on the ball to push it wide minutes later.

Iraq play Bahrain next on Saturday while Australia will face hosts Thailand on the same day.

The top three teams of the tournaments earn tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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