By The Nation
The two sides were tied on three points ahead of the decisive encounter that would determine who would claim the remaining automatic qualification spot, with third-ranked Russia already assured of top spot in the section that also included Cuba.
In a scrappy first half in which both sides struggled to string passes together, the Thai side took a fortuitous lead when unfortunate Ibrahim Eika deflected in a ball into his own net. Jirawat Sornwichain then put them 2-0 ahead soon after the break with a clinical finish.
Abdelrahman Elashwal’s late strike set up a nervy finale but the Thais, ranked 13th, managed to hang onto the result, which secured them the runners-up spot in the group and the passage into the knockout rounds of the competition for the second consecutive time.
By clinching the last-16 spot, it meant the Thai side now at least matched their best campaign achieved four years ago when the country hosted the tournament.