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Business News/ Sports / Football News/  India vs Pakistan SAFF championship: Sunil Chhetri's hat-trick helps India rout Pakistan 4-0
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India vs Pakistan SAFF championship: Sunil Chhetri's hat-trick helps India rout Pakistan 4-0

Sunil Chhetri scored a hat-trick as India beat arch-rivals Pakistan 4-0 in their first match of the SAFF Championship. Udanta scored the fourth goal.

Sunil Chhetri's during the matchPremium
Sunil Chhetri's during the match

Sunil Chhetri and his boys brought their top-quality game against arch-rivals Pakistan in the first match for Team India at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium today.

Sunil Chhetri scored three goals in the match and the first one was scored at the tenth minute of the game when a blunder from Pakistan goalkeeper Saqib Hanif helped Chhetri open his account.  It was then six minutes later when Sunil Chhetri scored the second goal of the match. India were 2-0 at half-time of the game. Sunil Chhetri scored the hat-trick when he scored the third goal of the match at 74th minute. Substitute Udanta scored another goal at 81 minute to extend the lead to 4-0 against Pakistan.

Sunil Chhetri became the second-highest Asian goalscorer in international football. Ali Daei of Iran holds the record with 109 goals from 149 matches. Chhetri has 90 strikes to his name.

From the beginning of the match itself India brought forth their experience and class into play. Pakistan had pockets of doughty resistance, but they were not a match to India's cohesion and purpose on a rain-drenched night at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

"Happy to keep clean sheet, happy to start tournament. Matches in these kinds of conditions are never easy. Happy people turned up, this is amazing, this is what we play for," Chhetri said after the match.

It was a sumptuous performance by India that thrilled the 22860-strong crowd that thronged the stadium despite a heavy downpour. India will next face minnows Nepal in their second Group A match on Saturday.

India was facing Pakistan in a football match for the first time since September 2018 when the neighbours battled against each other in the SAFF Championship semifinals.

India and Pakistan are in Group A of the eight-nation SAFF Championship, alongside Kuwait and Nepal. Group B features Lebanon, Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The final is scheduled for July 4.

*With agency inputs

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Published: 21 Jun 2023, 09:30 PM IST
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