The Indian Football Team defeated Pakistan by 4-0 goals in their SAFF Championship 2023 opener at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday, 21.
Sunil Chhetri scored his fourth international hattrick (10’, 16’ and 73’) and scored 90 goals in 138 appearances for the national side. Chhetri is the third Indian to score a hat-trick against Pakistan, after Puran Bahadur and IM Vijayan.
In the first ten minutes of the match, the Indian team was gifted the lead after Pakistan goalkeeper Saqib Hanif made a mistake in front of the goal. After receiving a backpass, Saqib Hanif failed to clear the ball quickly and played it onto the feet of a running Sunil Chhetri. The Indian captain took the chance and scored 1-0 for the Indian Team.
Again in the 16 minutes, Pakistan's defence, playing under pressure, conceded a penalty for handling the ball, and Sunil Chhetri stepped up and scored another goal. India continued to maintain possession and dominate the game until the first half. Meanwhile, Temperatures rise before the halftime whistle as Igor Stimac gets involved with the players and opposition coach. The referee showed a red card to Stimac and a yellow card to the Pakistan manager. The first half ended with India leading 2-0.
India carried the domination in the second half. The Pakistani defence once again came under pressure from India. In the 73rd minute, Sunil Chhetri was tackled in the box, and the referee quickly pointed to the penalty spot. Chhetri, this time, slotted the ball into the top left corner to register a hat-trick and make it 3-0 for India. Udanta Singh scored India’s fourth goal from range to make it 4-0, and the Blue Tigers won the match by defeating the Pakistan Team.
This was the first football match between India and Pakistan since September 2018. On that day five years ago, India defeated the Pakistani members 3-1 in the semi-final of the SAFF tournament.
India will play Nepal next in their second Group A match on Saturday.