June 21, 2023, marked a historic day in the annals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. The Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, India, played host to the highly anticipated clash between India and Pakistan, reviving a rivalry not witnessed on the football field since September 2018.
Chhetri's Hat-trick: India's Triumph over Pak
Football • 21 Jun, 2023 • 1,886 Views
By: Shivani Chourasia
The Hat-trick Hero
The night belonged to India's talisman, Sunil Chhetri, who, true to his pre-match declaration that "Losing is NOT an option," led his team to a resounding victory over Pakistan. Chhetri scored a phenomenal hat-trick, contributing to India's 4-0 triumph over their arch-rivals. His first goal was a display of opportunistic play, capitalizing on a blunder from Pakistan's goalkeeper Saqib Hanif. The following two goals were penalties that he expertly converted, drawing deafening cheers from the home crowd each time he found the net.
A Night of Drama
The match was not without its share of drama. At one point, a brain fades from India's Coach Igor Stimac sparking a brawl between players from both teams. Stimac was subsequently sent off, leaving Indian players stunned and leading to yellow cards for India's Sandesh Jhingan and Pakistan's Rahis Nabi.
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The Fourth Blow
Udanta Singh capped off the night by scoring India's fourth goal, solidifying their dominant performance against Pakistan. The victory was especially significant given that the match marked the first of the tournament for Indian team.
After the game, a jubilant Sunil Chhetri expressed his happiness over the team's performance, highlighting the importance of starting the tournament on a winning note and maintaining a clean sheet. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Easah Suliman reflected on the challenges his team faced, including travel-related issues and the lack of practice in the days leading up to match.
The decisive victory set a positive tone for India's upcoming matches in the tournament, with Nepal and Kuwait next on their schedule. As for Pakistan, they were left to regroup and prepare for their encounters with the same team.
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The match was a testament to the spirit of the game and the enduring rivalry between the two nations. It was a night that will be etched in the memories of football fans, especially those in India, for years to come.
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