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Thai fans rejoice over draw with Socceroos

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Ron Corben

The 2-2 draw between Australia and Thailand in the vital World Cup qualifying match in Bangkok on Tuesday provided an uplift for Thai fans after a month of official mourning for their late king.

King Bhumipol Adulaydej, who passed away on October 13, was known as a keen sportsman.

The Thai team, offered a bonus of A$400,000 if they defeated the Socceroos, also said they would be playing in honour of the late king.

Wayne Collins and his son Steve, from Perth, had been concerned the game may be re-scheduled after the death of the king.

"We had already booked tickets and flights and accommodation and all that, and for it to potentially be shifted it was a bit of a concern," Steve told AAP at the national stadium.

But Thailand's Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, had pressed for the game to proceed.

"You can cheer, you can do everything according to what you would like to do," Ms Kobkarn had said.

And cheer they did. Thai fans, many wearing the blue jersey of the national team, were enthusiastic in backing their team as claps and chants rang around the stadium.

For the past month since the passing of the king, major sporting events - including the local football league - and cultural events have been cancelled or postponed - the match was a welcome return to normalcy.

While Thailand were considered a small chance of victory few would have expected them to trouble the Socceroos as much as they did, although some Australian fans did.

Neil Davenport, who lives in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, saw the threat of a draw before the game was underway with Australia playing with an under-strength side.

"It's a bit disappointing that we're not anywhere near full strength, but hopefully that will be good enough," Davenport told AAP.

In the end it was Thailand who created the better opportunities and looked anything but the bottom team in their group.

The draw for Australia was labelled a 'hiccup' by coach Ange Postecolgou but for Thailand it was finally an occasion to rejoice after a sombre month.

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