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Dili: Timor-Leste put one foot in the second round of joint qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup with an emphatic 4-1 first-leg win over Mongolia on Thursday.

The encounter at the Dili Municipal Stadium represented the very first match on the qualification road to Russia for FIFA’s Member Associations and a healthy crowd of around 9000 fans braved the heat and humidity in the Timor-Leste capital to witness the ASEAN nation record their very first victory in a World Cup qualifier following defeats in the 2010 and 2014 campaigns.

The home side made a blistering start to Thursday’s meeting with Mongolia and had raced to a two-goal lead inside the first seven minutes courtesy of a quick-fire double from Chiquito do Carmo, who scored in the fourth and seventh minutes to take his international tally to four following the two goals he bagged in the qualifiers for the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Timor-Leste doubled their advantage with two late goals with Rodrigo Silva making it 3-0 in the 84th minute before substitute Jairo Neto, a 67th minute replacement for Do Carmo, followed up the UAE-based midfielder’s strike with the fourth just 60 seconds later.

Erchim FC defender Erkhembayar Batmunkh reduced the deficit with three minutes to play but Timor-Leste will hope that their three-goal cushion will prove too much for Mongolia to overcome when the head to the colder climes of Ulan Bator for the return-fixture on March 17.

The six Round 1 winners will advance to the second round where the 34 highest-ranked teams await. The 40 nations will be drawn into eight groups of five teams and compete according to a double round robin format.

The Round 2 qualification matches will be held between June 11, 2015 and March 29, 2016.

The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup finals.

Photo: Mongolian Football Federation