The highly anticipated contest for the remaining 12 places in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 finals will kick off this week with 12 matches to be played in the final round of qualifiers.
At the draw for the final round of qualifiers in Abu Dhabi in January, the 24 hopefuls were divided into six groups and the top two will qualify for the AFC flagship competitions finals to be played in the United Arab Emirates between January 5 and February 1 in 2019.
Chinese Taipei will kick off the qualifiers with their Group E match against Turkmenistan on Sunday in the Taipei Municipal Stadium with the rest of the action – except for the postponed match between DPR Korea and Malaysia - taking place on Tuesday March 28.
Myanmar will host the highly-fancied India and the Group A top-seeded side Kyrgyz Republic play Macau, who came into the draw to replace Guam. Guam withdrew for logistical reasons.
The AFC Asian Cup 2000 hosts, Lebanon will start their campaign in Group B against Hong Kong in Beirut. The other match in the group between DPR Korea and Malaysia has been postponed and will be played at a neutral venue on June 8, 2017, which is the next available date in the FIFA international calendar.
In Group C, quarter-finalists in the 2004 and 2011 Asian Cups and top seeds in the group, Jordan will host Cambodia, while Afghanistan will meet Vietnam in the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe. Jordan are currently the highest ranked team taking part in the qualifiers.
Oman start their Group D campaign against Bhutan in Muscat and in the group’s second match, the Maldives will host Palestine.
Meanwhile, in the remaining Group E game, 2004 semi-finalists Bahrain will host Singapore.
Finally, in Group F, the Philippines will start their dream of reaching the first-ever 24-team Asian Cup finals in Manila against Nepal, who replaced Kuwait, while Yemen will meet Tajikistan in Doha. Kuwait could not take their place in the qualifiers as they are currently suspended by FIFA.
The qualifiers will be joined by the other 12 teams, which include defending champions Australia, China PR, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts United Arab Emirates - who have already qualified to the final competition through the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.
|Sn.||Match||Round||Status||Result||Date & Time||Venue|
|1||Philippines - Nepal Men's Team||Round 1||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-03-28 18:00:00||Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Manila|
|2||Yemen - Tajikistan||Round 1||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-03-28 19:00:00||Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha|
|3||Nepal Men's Team - Yemen||Round 2||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-06-13 20:00:00||Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu|
|4||Tajikistan - Philippines||Round 2||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-06-13 21:00:00||Republican Central Stadium, Dushanbe|
|5||Nepal Men's Team - Tajikistan||Round 3||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-09-05 15:00:00||ANFA Complex, Kathmandu|
|6||Philippines - Yemen||Round 3||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-09-05 21:00:00||Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium, Bacolod City|
|7||Tajikistan - Nepal Men's Team||Round 4||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-10-10 20:00:00||Hisor Central Stadium, Hisor|
|8||Yemen - Philippines||Round 4||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-10-10 22:00:00||Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Stadium, Doha|
|9||Nepal Men's Team - Philippines||Round 5||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2017-11-14 15:00:00||ANFA Complex, Kathmandu|
|10||Tajikistan - Yemen||Round 5||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2018-03-14 20:00:00||Hisor Central Stadium, Hisor|
|11||Yemen - Nepal Men's Team||Round 6||Played||2 - 1||2018-03-27 21:00:00||Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha|
|12||Philippines - Tajikistan||Round 6||Yet to be played||0 - 0||2018-03-27 22:00:00||Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Manila|
|Rank||Player||Goal Type||Number of Goal(s)|
|1||Abdulwasea Al Matari||Goal||2|