Road to Qatar 2022: Asian teams discover Round 1 opponents
Kuala Lumpur: The draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers - Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 took place at the AFC House in the Malaysian capital on Wednesday.
Seeded teams Malaysia, Cambodia, Macau, Laos, Bhutan and Mongolia were handed challenging fixtures for a place in the next qualifying round.
Mongolia, who edged Timor-Leste in the previous edition to earn their place in the second round, will face a Brunei Darussalam side who were defeated 3-1 on aggregate by Chinese Taipei in the 2018 Qualifiers.
The match-up between Macau and Sri Lanka will be a rematch of their 2016 AFC Solidarity tie, where both teams settled for a 1-1 draw with Macau going on to top the group and finish runners-up behind eventual winners Nepal.
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Laos and Bangladesh will add spice to the mix when they face each other for a place in the second round. Both teams are beginning their qualifying campaign in Round 1 for the first time after usually starting from Round 2.
Malaysia will face a familiar foe when they take on Timor-Leste, a team they beat in the previous edition in the second round group stage.
Cambodia defeated Macau 4-1 in the previous edition and will face Pakistan, who lost 3-1 Yemen in the first round in the 2018 Qualifiers. Bhutan will face tough opponents in Guam.
The first leg of the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 will take place on June 6 with the return leg scheduled for June 11. The six winners will join Asia’s top 34 teams in the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2, which will commence in September.
Note: Timor Leste are ineligible to participate in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, after the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee expelled the Federacao Futebol Timor-Leste from the tournament in January 20, 2017, for fielding ineligible players. Their participation in Wednesday's draw was for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 only.
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