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The journey so far


Sunday, October 6, 2019
Maldives vs China -Asian Qualifiers

Kuala Lumpur: The Continent's elite players will be travelling across the globe over the next 24 hours ahead of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.


All 40 teams aiming for qualification will be in action with Matchdays Three and Four scheduled for October 10 and 15.

As we prepare for another fiesta of national team football, the-AFC.com takes a look at the scenario in the eight groups heading into the next two rounds of matches on the Road to Qatar 2022 and China 2023.

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GROUP A

As the dust settled on Matchday Two on September 10, four teams were tied on three points each with China PR top of the group on goal difference.

The hosts of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 only got their campaign underway on Matchday Two but were quick to impose themselves on the group with a 5-0 win over Maldives in Male.

MD2 - Group A: Guam vs Philippines

Syria, also in action only once, are the other team in Group A with a 100 percent record after registering an impressive 5-2 win over a tough Philippines in Bacolod.

Philippines, who made their AFC Asian Cup Finals debut in UAE 2019, showed grit to bounce back on Matchday Two with a 4-1 win over Guam in Dededo.

It was Guam's second defeat of the campaign on home soil, having fallen 1-0 to Maldives on Matchday One.

Fixtures
October 10: Syria vs Maldives; China PR vs Guam
October 15: Syria vs Guam; Philippines vs China PR


GROUP B

MD1 - Group B: Kuwait vs Nepal

Kuwait couldn't build on their 7-0 win over Nepal as they were defeated 3-0 by Australia on Matchday Two.

The big win over Nepal, however, meant Kuwait were top of the group on goal difference at the end of Matchday Two with Jordan and Nepal also on three points.

MD2 - Group B: Kuwait vs Australia

Nepal rebounded from their heavy defeat to beat Chinese Taipei 2-0 in a wonderful display of resilience while Jordan had also inflicted a 2-1 defeat on the East Asians on Matchday One.

Fixtures
October 10: Jordan vs Kuwait; Australia vs Nepal
October 15: Jordan vs Nepal; Chinese Taipei vs Australia


GROUP C

MD2 - Group C: Cambodia vs Bahrain

Bahrain were the early pacesetters in Group C, having collected four points after opening with a 1-1 draw against Iraq and 1-0 win over Cambodia.

It could well have been a perfect six points but Bahrain conceded a late equaliser to Iraq in Riffa on Matchday One.

MD 1 - Group C: Cambodia vs Hong Kong

Asia's top-ranked team Islamic Republic of Iran kicked off their campaign to qualify for a third consecutive FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 win over Hong Kong on Matchday Two.

The result was a blow to Hong Kong, who had done well to share the points with Cambodia following a 1-1 draw in Phnom Penh, with the Southeast Asians then falling to a 1-0 defeat against Bahrain.

Fixtures
October 10: IR Iran vs Cambodia; Iraq vs Hong Kong
October 15: Cambodia vs Iraq; Bahrain vs IR Iran


GROUP D

Matchdays One & Two: Scintillating Goals

Singapore would have been buoyed by their points haul after the opening two matchdays, with four in the bag after a 2-2 draw with Yemen and a 2-1 win over Palestine.

It was an impressive win over a Palestine side who had just five days earlier defeated Uzbekistan, a result which ultimately cost Hector Cuper his job as the Central Asian side's head coach.

Yemen continued their good start to the campaign by holding Saudi Arabia 2-2 at the neutral venue of the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa, a result which would have further boosted their confidence.

Fixtures
October 10: Uzbekistan vs Yemen; Saudi Arabia vs Singapore
October 15: Palestine vs Saudi Arabia; Singapore vs Uzbekistan


GROUP E

MD1 - Group E: Qatar vs Afghanistan

Qatar are the overwhelming favourites to win Group E and the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions started their campaign with a 6-0 win over Afghanistan on Matchday One.

The West Asians, though, found India much tougher to crack and had to settle for a 0-0 draw in a tie they totally dominated.

MD1 - Group E: India vs Oman

For India, the draw with the Asian champions boosted morale after they suffered a late 2-1 defeat to Oman on Matchday One.

Afghanistan showed there were no lasting effects from their opening day loss as the Central Asians defeated Bangladesh 1-0 on Matchday Two in Dushanbe.

Fixtures
October 10: Bangladesh vs Qatar; Oman vs Afghanistan
October 15: India vs Bangladesh; Qatar vs Oman


GROUP F

MD2 - Group F: Myanmar vs Japan

Tajikistan ended the opening two matchdays with a perfect record after registering impressive 1-0 wins over Kyrgyz Republic and Mongolia respectively.

Mongolia's defeat came after they had seen off Myanmar 1-0 in their opening match in Ulaanbaatar with the Southeast Asians then finding four-time AFC Asian Cup winners Japan too hot to handle as they fell 2-0 in Yangon.

Fixtures
October 10: Japan vs Mongolia; Kyrgyz Republic vs Myanmar
October 15: Mongolia vs Kyrgyz Republic; Tajikistan vs Japan


GROUP G

MD2 - Group G: Indonesia vs Thailand

After two Southeast Asian derbies, Thailand were on top of Group G as they scored an impressive 3-0 win over Indonesia in Jakarta after having played to a 0-0 draw with Vietnam on home soil.

MD 2 - Group G: Malaysia vs UAE

United Arab Emirates, the only non Southeast Asian side in the group, opened their campaign with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over an impressive Malaysia, who had defeated Indonesia 3-2 in Jakarta on Matchday One.

Fixtures
October 10: Vietnam vs Malaysia; UAE vs Indonesia
October 15: Thailand vs UAE; Indonesia vs Vietnam


GROUP H

DPR Korea topped Group H after two impressive wins, defeating Lebanon 2-0 in Pyongyang and then seeing off Sri Lanka 1-0 in Colombo five days later.

Korea Republic, seeking a 10th consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup Finals, defeated Turkmenistan 2-0 in Ashgabat.

Turkmenistan had opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka five days earlier.

Fixtures
October 10: Lebanon vs Turkmenistan; Korea Republic vs Sri Lanka
October 15: DPR Korea vs Korea Republic; Sri Lanka vs Lebanon

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