2022 FIFA World Cup – 2023 AFC Asian Cup: Asian teams discover Round 1 qualifier opponents!

The draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Qatar and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers – Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 took place at the AFC House in the Malaysian capital on Wednesday, April 17.

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.

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 1-3 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.

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 2022 FIFA World Cup only.

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