Buri Ram to host Malaysia vs N. Korea qualifiers

I-Mobile Stadium, home of Thai League 1 leaders Buriram United, in Buri Ram will be the venue for North Korea and Malaysia in their Asian Cup qualifying matches.

HONG KONG: North Korea and Malaysia will play their Asian Cup qualifying matches in Buri Ram, the Asian Football Confederation has announced, after earlier attempts to stage the matches fell victim to political tensions.

Diplomatic relations between the countries have been strained following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February.

In the wake of the killing, Malaysia barred its citizens from travelling to North Korea, which prevented the national team from playing a qualifier originally scheduled for March 28 in Pyongyang.

The teams will now meet twice in four days at the I-Mobile Stadium in Buri Ram, with the first game on Nov 10 and the second three days later.

Both sides are struggling in Group B of qualifying for the Asian Cup finals, which will be played in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

Lebanon lead the group and are on the verge of securing their place at the finals while Hong Kong are in second, three points ahead of North Korea, with Malaysia bottom.

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