Team India’s Mission 2047 is on the right track. After lifting the Hero Intercontinental Cup, the Men in Blue have started their SAFF Championship campaign with a banger. The hosts have defeated Pakistan 4-0 in their opening game of the tournament.
The hero of the night was Indian Football’s poster boy Sunil Chhetri who hit a hat-trick of goals to take his team to the top position in the Group A of the SAFF Championship. With this achievement, Chhetri has become the fourth-highest goal scorer in international football. Chhetri has 90 goals in 138 games; trailing behind Argentina’s talismanic skipper Lionel Messi with 103 goals.
Since the match started, India displayed their dominance. Although Pakistan offered pockets of resistance, they were no match to the Men in Blue’s determination and aggression. Chhetri, who was exuding exuberance since the start of the match opened the scoring with a fine field goal in the 10th minute.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 21, 2023
Just six minutes later, Chhetri converted a penalty to extend their lead over the arch-rivals. The team attacked relentlessly but couldn’t quite land any additional goals.
As soon as the second half began, the Men in Blue decided to double their lead by attacking continuously at the opposition’s defence. The breakthrough came in the 74th minute when Pakistan’s defence fouled Chhetri inside the penalty box. Sunil Chhetri, who had already scored a brace ensured he successfully converts the spot-kick to make it a hat-trick.
In the 81st minute, Udanta Singh who came as a substitute in place of Lallianzuala Chhangte scored a magnificent goal further widening India’s lead and sealing their comprehensive victory.
The win helped India reach the top of the table in the SAFF Championship. India will now face Nepal in their upcoming Group A match on Saturday.