A late goal from Purachet Thodsanid helped the Thai U23 team salvage a 1-1 draw with Bahrain in their first match of the Hangzhou Asian Games on Tuesday.
The result at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium kept alive Thailand's hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament from Group E.
The six group winners and runners-up as well as the four best third-placed sides advance to the last-16 round.
Thailand, who started with newcomer Maximilian Steinbauer, had an opportunity to get in front in the first half but Phithak Phimpae's shot hit the woodwork.
Bahrain also had a chance but their captain Mohamed Adnon was denied by Thailand goalkeeper Nopphon Lakhonphon.
The Middle Eastern country then wasted another opportunity when Abdulaziz Husain sent his shot wide.
Bahrain got the first goal in the 42nd minute after a bunch of Thai defenders failed in their attempts to clear the ball, allowing striker Husain to put one on the board.
After conceding the goal, Thailand tried to up the tempo of their attacks but failed to trouble Bahrain defenders.
In the second half, Yotsakon Burapha replaced Nakin Wisetchat and the change had an immediate impact as the Thais were able to mount pressure on Bahrain. Maximilian, meanwhile, had a chance but his shot was cleared by a Bahrain defender.
Thailand gained control of the game as Bahrain packed their defence, only launching occasional counter-attacks.
During injury time, Thailand averted a defeat when Purachet equalised with a superb long shot in the 95th minute after weaving his way past a host of defenders. The strike helped the Thai Asian Games squad pick up a point.
Thailand play their next match against pre-tournament title favourites South Korea on Thursday.
Kuwait are the other team in the group.
N Korea back with a bang
North Korea returned to major international competition for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic with a 2-0 win over Taiwan in men's football at the Asian Games.
North Korea closed its already tight borders in early 2020 following the Covid outbreak and skipped the Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed back to 2021.
The country was then banned from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics for failing to take part in Tokyo.