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North Korea, Malaysia to play Asian Cup ties in Thailand

North Korea, Malaysia to play Asian Cup ties in Thailand”

Meanwhile, Malaysia and North Korea will play their delayed Asian Cup qualifiers in Thailand next month, after the matches were postponed over a diplomatic row and nuclear tensions.

AFC general secretary Windsor John thanked the Thailand association, saying the move to host the two matches "has ensured that the AFC has been able to maintain the sporting integrity of the AFC Asian Cup qualifying".

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

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

The AFC said North Korea would represent the "home" side for the November 10 match and the "visiting" side in the second leg three days later.

But the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) requested for the match to be changed to a neutral venue following a diplomatic crisis caused by the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea ruler Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Feb 13.

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

The Pyongyang leg was postponed a third time in late September after Malaysia banned its citizens from travelling to the North Korean capital, citing heightened security concerns on the Korean Peninsula.

Malaysia are now at the bottom of Group B on one point from three games, but two wins over North Korea would put them in contention for a place at the Asian Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates in 2019. The elder Kim was poisoned on February 13 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, allegedly by North Korean operatives, which resulted in a diplomatic stand-off at one point between the two countries.



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