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Draw for U-23 Asian Cup football qualifiers: India in Group E

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Tashkent, July 9 (IANS) India have been placed in Group E along with host the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kyrgyz Republic for the under-23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers to be held from October 23 to 31.

In the draw of the qualifiers, held here on Friday, 42 teams were divided into 11 groups with 15 spots available at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup, with Uzbekistan having already confirmed their place as host, the Asian Football Confederation announced.

It is the first time the tournament will be staged in the central zone of the continent, said the AFC.

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The draw divided the teams into two regions — the West Region comprising 23 West, South and Central competing teams and the East Region, which consists of 19 East and ASEAN teams.

The 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams will qualify for the finals.

While India are in Group E, Jordan will host Group F that also has Palestine and Turkmenistan for company.

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The other pools in West Region are Group A, which consists of Syria, host Qatar, Yemen and Sri Lanka, and Group B which comprise the Islamic Republic of Iran, host Tajikistan, Lebanon and Nepal. Iraq, the 2013 champions, headline Group C, which will be hosted by Bahrain with Afghanistan and Maldives also contesting.

Saudi Arabia, runners-up in 2013 and 2020, will play in Group D with Bangladesh, host Kuwait and Uzbekistan, who will participate in a friendly capacity and their results will not be included in the standings. The AFC did not provide any reason for this.

In the East Region, Australia, who finished third in the 2020 AFC U23 Asian Cup, were drawn in Group G with China, host Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

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Korea Republic, winners of the 2020 edition, will face ASEAN opposition in host Singapore, Timor-Leste and Philippines in Group H while 2018 runners-up Vietnam are with Myanmar, Hong Kong and host Chinese Taipei in Group I.

Mongolia will host ASEAN sides Thailand, Malaysia and Laos in Group J while DPR Korea, 2016 champions Japan and Cambodia are in Group K, with the host to be named in due course.

–IANS

qma/kh

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