Football: Lions face tough task in third round of 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers

SINGAPORE - The Singapore national football team has been drawn in Group E of the third round of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers alongside Bahrain, Turkmenistan and Chinese Taipei.

The draw, held in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening, will see the Lions return to action after November's Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup. Singapore will start with an away game at Bahrain on March 28.

The Lions reached the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers after finishing third in the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which also served as a qualifier for the continental tournament.

Then, Singapore was third in the round-robin group behind winners Japan and Syria, and ahead of Afghanistan and Cambodia. The Lions were placed in the last pot for the third round draw, which is based on the latest Fifa world rankings. Singapore are currently ranked 165th in the world and 32nd in Asia.

Singapore had never qualified directly for the Asian Cup finals apart from getting an automatic slot as hosts in 1984.