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2019 AFC Asian Cup: Rival Watch: Bahrain, UAE advance; Thailand knocked out

12:24 pm AEST 22/8/18
Bahrain and UAE have made it to the Round of 16 while Thailand crashed out from the 2018 Asian Games qualifiers...

Stephen Constantine's Indian national team will face the likes of Thailand, Bahrain and hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup 2019 in January.

After being denied an opportunity to partake in the Asian Games 2018 themselves, the India U-23 unit have the 2018 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Championship in September as part of their preparation for the Asian Cup.

A 22-member India U-23 squad is currently touring Australia where they are expected to play a few friendlies before flying out to Dhaka, Bangladesh, for the SAFF Championship. Thereafter the senior team is expected to play an international friendly in October against China in Beijing.

Taking a look at India's Asian Cup opponents, who have their U-23 sides in the ongoing Asian Games' men's football event, Bahrain and UAE have confirmed their qualification for the knockout stages.

Bahrain U-23

Bahrain defeated Group E toppers Malaysia 3-2 on Monday to make it through to the Round of 16. They will face Vietnam on Thursday, August 23rd. Mohammed Al-Hardan (33', 89') and Hamad Al-Shamsan (37') were the scorers for the gulf outfit. Earlier, they suffered a 6-0 defeat at the hands of South Korea and in the 2-2 draw against Kyrgyzstan. Mohamed Jasim Marhoon had broken the deadlock and Ahmed Saleh Sanad salvaged a point with a late equaliser

UAE U-23

Meanwhile, in Group C, UAE U23 went down 1-2 against China PR despite the Junior Whites taking the lead through Mohammed Khalfan Al Harasi's 32nd-minute strike. However, UAE progressed out of their group to come up against Indonesia on Friday in the Round of 16. They had lost 0-1 to Syria and the 4-1 win over Timor-Leste saw Shahin Suroor, Salem Sultan Al Sharji and Zayed Al-Ameri on the scoresheet for UAE.

Thailand U-23

Thailand's loss by a solitary goal at the hands of Uzbekistan in Group B saw them fail to garner enough points to make it to the next round. They could only end the group stage as the sixth best third-placed side, when only the top four third-placed teams would qualify to the round of 16, alongside group winners and runners-up. Thailand has had only one goalscorer in Supachai Jaided in both the 1-1 draws against Qatar and Bangladesh in the previous fixtures.