Kuala Lumpur: Matchday Three of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 more than lived up to expectations with no shortage of excitement.
With fans still catching their breath after Thursday's stellar action, Matchday Four beckons on Tuesday and the-AFC.com has selected five things to look out for as the teams take another step in their bid to qualify for the two showpiece events.
See also :
Sharpshooters star on Matchday Three
We should have scored more, says UAE's van Marwijk
Abramov circumspect despite five-goal return
1 Historic match
DPR Korea will host Korea Republic in a top-of-the table Group H clash at the Kim Il-Sung Stadium in Pyongyang.
The game's historical significance aside - it will be the first time in almost 30 years that Korea Republic's men's national team has played in Pyongyang - three points for either side will represent a huge step towards reaching the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 and going through to the next stage of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
2 Another goal fest?
Matchday Three's 16 matches - to the delight of the fans - saw a whopping 74 goals scored and seven players netting hat-tricks or more.
The question now is: can Matchday Four match or surpass the incredible haul that saw the Islamic Republic of Iran's Karim Ansarifard and Korea Republic's Kim Shin-wook score four each and Ali Mabkhout bag a hat-trick to become the United Arab Emirates' all-time topscorer.
3 Singapore test for Uzbekistan
Group D hopefuls Uzbekistan bounced back from their opening day 2-0 defeat to beat Yemen 5-0 on Thursday and the Central Asians will play Singapore away on Tuesday.
Singapore's four points have all come at home, an indication that Vadim Abramov's Uzbekistan must brace themselves for a tough night at the island republic's National Stadium.
4 UAE's frequent flyer miles
It is another long-haul flight to Southeast Asia for Group G leaders United Arab Emirates as they prepare to face Thailand at the Thammasat Stadium in Ban Rangsit.
Their last trip to the region saw Bert van Marwijk's side having to come from behind to defeat Malaysia 2-1 in September and the UAE can expect a similar test against a Thailand side they replaced at the top of the standings after defeating Indonesia 5-0 on Thursday.
5 South Asian Derby
India will host Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in what will be a cracking Group E match for sure.
Both sides desperately need the three points, with India on one after two matches and Bangladesh still seeking their first after having suffered two consecutive defeats. It all sets the stage for an intense showdown between two of South Asia's biggest teams.
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