Thailand hopes dented after Jordan draw

BANGKOK - Thailand's hopes of reaching the 2011 Asian Cup suffered a blow after they were held to a soggy 0-0 draw at home to Jordan on Wednesday, leaving Bryan Robson with a mountain to climb to get his team through.

The point moved Thailand into second place in Group E on six points, the same as Singapore who will face Jordan (5) away in their final game.

Thailand face group winners and three-times Asian champions Iran away in their final match, with the runner-up spot up for grabs. Robson's team are ahead of Jordan and Singapore on head-to-head meetings, so a point against Iran could still see them qualify if the other sides draw.

Robson, a former England captain, reacted strongly when asked if Thailand's chances of qualification had slipped away. He said Iran could be beaten, even in front of a massive Azadi Stadium crowd famed for its hostility towards visiting teams.

"It's in our own hands now. Everyone says Iran are a super race and in this part of the world you can't beat them, but I don't look at it like that," Robson told reporters.

Thailand had the best of the action in Bangkok but squandered a stream of scoring chances in an ugly match fraught with errors on a rain-soaked surface.

Lifted by a boisterous crowd that waded through shin-deep water to get to the Rajamangala Stadium, Thailand were fortuitous in weathering an early onslaught by Jordan before launching a series of fruitless attacks at the opposite end.

Teerathep Winothai and Sutee Suksomkit came close early on and Suchao Nutnum compounded Thailand's frustrations when he spurned three clear-cut chances, the worst when he shot tamely into the goalkeeper's hands in first-half stoppage time.

Jordan won the high balls and packed out their defence to keep their opponents at bay as Thailand, missing four key players, misfired throughout the second half.

Jordan coach Adnan Hamad was happy with the point said the stage was now set for fierce battle for second place.

"The match was very hard for both teams," he said. "I'm happy with the players' performance and now we have a chance to go through - we all now have a chance to go through."