India defeats Pakistan in SAFF Cup opener

The Indian football team is ranked 101 in the FIFA rankings.

The Indian men's football team defeated Pakistan 4-0 in the SAFF Championship 2023 opener held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on June 21. Sunil Chhetri, the captain scored his fourth international hat-trick, while Udanta Singh Kumam also contributed with a goal.

Chhetri, the 38-year-old veteran, displayed exceptional skill and experience on the field, finding the back of the net in the game's 10th, 16th, and 73rd minutes. His remarkable performance further solidified his position as one of the leading goal-scorers for the Indian national team, with a total of 90 goals in 138 appearances.

Chhetri's hat trick against Pakistan puts him in the company of Puran Bahadur and IM Vijayan as the only Indians to achieve this milestone against Pakistan. The win extends India's seven-match clean sheet streak, highlighting their strong defence. The team currently leads Group A in the SAFF Championship, ahead of Kuwait on goal difference.

Chhetri’s exceptional goal-scoring prowess also highlights his position as the third-highest active international goal-scorer, trailing only behind Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Lionel Messi of Argentina. In their next Group A encounter, India is set to face Nepal on June 24.

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