KUALA LUMPUR� Malaysia will have to play their Group B 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying matches against North Korea in Thailand on Nov 10 and 13.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary, Paul Windsor John said the confederation was extremely grateful for the continued support of the Football Association of Thailand in agreeing to play host for these two matches.

The FA of Thailand has ensured that the AFC is able to maintain the sporting integrity of the AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign, he was quoted as saying in a statement, Tuesday.

According to the statement, the first match on Nov 10 will be designated as the North Korea home match, with the second match on Nov 13, as Malaysia’s home fixture.

The exact venue and kick-off times are to be confirmed, the statement said.

The match was initially scheduled for March 28 in Pyongyang but was later postponed to June 8, following strained diplomatic relationships between North Korea and Malaysia, after the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un, at klia2 on Feb 13.

The match was once again postponed to Oct 5, just five days before a match against Hong Kong on Oct 10.

Malaysia opened their 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign pointless after losing 1-2 to Lebanon on June 13 at Larkin Stadium in Johor.

Then they drew 1-1 with Hong Kong at Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka on Sept 5 before losing 0-2 to Hong Kong at Hong Kong Stadium on Oct 10.

Malaysia are currently at the bottom of Group B with one point while Lebanon top the group standings with 10 points, followed by Hong Kong and North Korea with five and two points, respectively.

With three matches remaining, Malaysia need to finish among the top two teams in the group in order to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1, 2019.


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