The Indian football team defeated their arch-rivals Pakistan in the South Asian Football Federation Cup 4-0 in a one-sided contest on Wednesday evening. The match was held at the Sri Kanteerava Outdoor Stadium in Bengaluru. The stadium hosted a massive crowd even though it was raining heavily for the entirety of the match.
Sunil Chhetri became the fourth Indian to score a hat-trick against Pakistan after Puran Bahadur Thapa, IM Vijayan, and Jeje Lalpekhlua. He also scored his 90th international goal which makes him the 3rd top active international goal-scorers in the world after the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Indian football legend Sunil Chhetri scored a hat-trick in his team’s triumph in their SAFF Championship campaign opener against Pakistan and became the fourth-highest goal-scorer in international football history.
The Blue Tigers did not disappoint as they went ahead in the 10th minute of the game after an error by the Pakistani goalkeeper allowed captain Sunil Chhetri to give the hosts the lead. Within 6 minutes of the opening goal, Chhetri doubled the lead via the penalty spot to make it 2-0 for India.
Minutes before the first half ended, Indian coach, Igor Stimac was shown a red card for interfering with the play which then resulted in a heated fight between players and staff of the two teams. The Croatian tried to prevent a throw-in as he pushed the ball off a Pakistani player’s hand.
The second half was also the same as India dominated the match as expected, Sunil Chhetri scored and completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute again through the penalty spot, converting his second spot kick of the night. Udanta Singh completed the rout as he made it 4 for the hosts in the 81st minute. This was the first meeting between the two nations after the 2018 SAFF Cup where India defeated Pakistan 3-1.
Securing a 4-0 victory, the Indian national football team ascended to the first position in their Group based on goal difference. Their next match is scheduled against Nepal in just three days’ time.
This victory yet again shows the grit and determination of the Indian football team which is unfortunately backed by a lack of proper support and infrastructure. It is high time that we start focusing and supporting other sports with the same passion we support our cricket team.