Ali Mabkhout’s last gasp equaliser in a 1-1 draw away to Thailand left the UAE hanging on by a thread in 2018 World Cup qualification on Tuesday.
The Al Jazira striker struck home from Esmail Matar’s headed set-up on 93 minutes to level Thailand’s 69th minute opener from Mongkol Thosakrai.
It leaves the UAE – who were playing their first game under new coach Edgardo Bauza – six points off qualifying spots with just two games remaining.
Mabkhout shot wide from a cross, and headed over a chipped ball forward from Omar Abdul Rahman, in the best of the UAE’s first half chances. But it was Thailand who went into the break feeling more hard done by.
Adisak Kraisorn saw his header cleared off the line by Mohammad Fawzi, who had just come off the bench for Abdul Aziz Al Sanqour, and moments later Sirod Chatthong headed over at the back post from a cross.
Thailand eventually got their reward on 69 minutes however, when Perapat Notechaiya crossed low into the box and UAE keeper Majed Nasser fumbled to allow Mongkol Thosakrai to tap home.
With the clock ticking down and the UAE looking set to crash out, Omar Abdul Rahman’s long ball forward was headed down by Esmail Matar to Mabkhout, who turned the ball into the bottom right.
He could have added a winner moments later but swung at a loose ball dropped by the keeper and struck it over in front of an open goal.
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