Qualifying for 2022 World Cup gets underway in Asia

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup got underway in Asia on Thursday, with Mongolia and Macau among the teams earning first-leg wins in the preliminary round.

Mongolia beat Brunei 2-0 in Ulaanbaatar, with captain Tsedenbal Norjmaa scoring from a free kick after nine minutes and Naranbold Nyam-Osor netting in the second half.

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Macau beat Sri Lanka 1-0 while Cambodia, coached by former Japan international Keisuke Honda, won 2-0 against Pakistan.

Also Bangladesh won 1-0 in Laos and Bhutan beat Guam 1-0.

The return legs take place next week. The opening round of qualifiers features Asia’s 12 lowest-ranked teams, with the six winners joining 34 other countries in the group stage that kicks off in September.

Malaysia plays Timor Leste on Friday.