The Group A encounter at the Thammasat Stadium was full of spice from the first whistle as the two teams looked to get their campaigns up and running after both failed to win in their opening matches.
Iraq coach Abdul-Ghani Shahad even had to make an 11th-minute substitution as left-back Hasan Raed threatened to get sent off early on following a handful of rash challenges.
A minute before halftime, Bahrain took the lead. Abdulrahman Ahmed clipped a hopeful ball over the top and Sayed Hashim Isa was quickest to react as he latched onto the pass and coolly finished past Ali Kadhim.
Five minutes after the hour mark, another of Shahad’s substitution – and one that he at least chose to make as opposed to being left with no alternative – proved to be a stroke of genius as he combined with the first to level the scores.
With Bahrain only able to clear the ball to the edge of their area, Mustafa Maan, Raed’s replacement, swung a looping first-time cross into the area and Amir Al Ammari – on the field for barely a minute – was left completely unmarked to sweep home a left-footed volley with his first touch of the contest.
From then, Iraq were in the ascendancy although once again Bahrain managed to deliver what looked to be a sucker punch with four minutes remaining; Husain Jameel finding space down the right at swinging in a cross that was at an awkward height but Mohamed Marhoon improvised well to meet it with a stooping header into the back of the net.
Just when it looked as though Bahrain would deliver the perfect response to Wednesday’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Thailand, the Iraqis were not to be denied at least a share of the spoils two minutes into stoppage time, as Mohammed Ridha floated in a glorious cross from the left that was deftly nodded by Mohammed Nassif past a hapless Ammar Mohamed.
Later in the day, a brave Australian comeback in the championship saw them register a crucial 2-1 victory over hosts Thailand.
Australia are now within touching distance of a quarter-final berth, having drawn 1-1 with Iraq in their first Group A game.