Dubai: Qatar defeated Kyrgyz Republic 1-0, Turkmenistan beat Afghanistan 2-0 while Vietnam and DPR Korea played to a 1-1 draw in international friendlies ahead of 2019 Asian Cup on Tuesday.
The teams are preparing for the continental showpiece and the matches allowed the coaches of all the sides to have an in depth look at their respective squads before the Continental showpiece kicks off on January 5.
Vietnam, fresh from winning the 2018 AFF Championship, took the lead in the 54th minute through Nguyen Tien Linh. DPR Korea, however, fought back to equalise through Jong Il-Gwan in the 81st minute.
Vietnam, who will be appearing in the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since they co-hosted the 2007 edition, are in Group D along with three-time champions Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Yemen.
Park Hang-seo’s side will be confident of their chances as Vietnam have enjoyed a successful 2018. Besides winning the 2018 AFF Cup, the Golden Dragons finished runners-up in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship and fourth in the 2018 Asian Games Indonesia.
Meanwhile, DPR Korea will also be on a mission as they are determined to advance to the knockout stage of the Asian event after having been eliminated at the group stage in the last two editions. Kim Yong-jun’s side will play in Group E with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Lebanon.
In another friendly, Asian Cup-bound Turkmenistan defeated Afghanistan 2-0 in Antalya, Turkey. Appearing in the continental showpiece for only the second time — their first was in 2004 — Turkmenistan are in Group F with four-time champions Japan, Uzbekistan and Oman.
Meanwhile in Doha, Qatar continued their fine build-up as Ali Afif’s second half goal secured them a 1-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic at the Khalifa International Stadium. Afif, who looks set to be a star performer at the Asian Cup, struck in the 69th minute.
With two more friendlies planned against Algeria and Islamic Republic of Iran on December 27 and 31 respectively, Tuesday’s win places Qatar on a good platform as they head into their UAE 2019 campaign, where they will play Lebanon in their Group E opener.
Kyrgyz Republic, who will be making their first appearance in the Finals, have one more friendly match against Palestine on December 31 before Asian Cup where they will have China PR, Korea Republic and the Philippines for company in Group C.