Thailand to host North Korea's Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia

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Bengaluru, November 2: North Korea will take on Malaysia in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Group B qualifier in Buriram, Thailand, on November 10, almost some seven months after the original schedule.

Diplomatic relations between the countries have been strained following the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February.

In the wake of the killing, Malaysia barred its citizens from travelling to North Korea, which prevented the national team from playing a qualifier originally scheduled for March 28 in Pyongyang.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had announced on October 20 that the match between the two nations would be held at a neutral venue after earlier attempts to stage the matches fell victim to political tensions.

North Korea vs Malaysia Asian Cup tie to be played at neutral venue

The AFC announcement on Thursday (November 2) put to rest all speculations about the venue.

The teams will now meet twice in four days at the I-Mobile Stadium in Buriram, some 300 kilometres northeast of Bangkok.

The order of matches has been maintained as the previously announced sequence to protect the sporting integrity of the competition, the AFC said.

Hence, the first game on November 10 will be North Korea's home game and the second one to be held three days later that of Malaysia's.

Lebanon lead the group and are on the verge of securing their place at the finals while Hong Kong are in second, three points ahead of North Korea, with Malaysia bottom.

The AFC Asian Cup will be played in the United Arab Emirates in January, 2019.

Story first published: Thursday, November 2, 2017, 16:21 [IST]
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