MELBOURNE, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Australia’s hopes of a direct ticket to the World Cup remain alive after a tense 2-1 win over Thailand in Melbourne on Tuesday but the Socceroos now face a nervous wait for the outcome of the Saudi Arabia qualifier against Japan.
Mathew Leckie hammered in a late winner after Pokklaw Anan stunned the home side with an equalising volley following Tomi Juric’s earlier second-half effort.
Desperate for a goal-fest but frustrated by the woodwork three times and denied repeatedly by Thai keeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, Australia will hope Japan can hold Saudi Arabia to a draw or beat them in Jeddah later on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia are three points behind the second-placed Socceroos in Asian qualifying group B with a game in hand but are superior on goal difference and can book an automatic ticket to Russia with a win over Japan. (Editing by Clare Fallon)