|By RYAN McGEE
Melbourne will play host to the opening ceremony and match of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the tournament's local organising committee has announced.
Host venues and the tournament's schedule was revealed on Wednesday, with the AAMI Park to stage the opening match - featuring the Socceroos - on January 9, 2015.
The final will be held at Sydney's Stadium Australia on January 31.
Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, Canberra Stadium and Hunter Stadium in Newcastle will be the other three venues to host matches during the Asian Cup.
Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will play host to Australia's group matches, on January 9, January 13and January 15respectively.
Stadium Australia will also host six matches prior to the final, including a quarter-final and a semi-final.
Newcastle will be spoiled for choice, with four games being staged at the 33,000-capacity Hunter Stadium, including a semi-final and the third v fourth place play-off match.
It means New South Wales will host the last four games of the competition.
But LOC chief executive officer Michael Brown said Wednesday's draw unveilling took a significant step in preparing for the 2015 Asian Cup.
"We are pleased to have now locked in five top-class venues for the competition and finalised the match schedule," he said.
"This will allow the detailed planning for the event to progress on schedule to ensure Asian Cup Australia 2015 is a world-class event and maintains Australia's international reputation as a great host for the world's best sporting contests."
Stadium Australia will be the tournament's largest venue, holding a capacity of around 84,000.
Melbourne's AAMI Park , with a capacity of 30,000, will also hold seven matches throughout the competition, with the opening match and the quarter final being the most significant games taking place.
Suncorp Stadium and Canberra Stadium will both host quarter-final matches as part of their seven-match schedule, with capacities of 52,500 and 25,000 respectfully.
The Asian Cup in Australia will run over the space of three weeks, and will consist of 32 matches being played by 16 teams.