India have been placed alongside their traditional ‘rivals’ Pakistan in the Group A of the SAFF Championship 2023. The tournament, which will be held in Bengaluru in June, will see the Blue Tigers defending their title which they won in 2021.
The India-Pakistan rivalry is a staple one – be it for any sporting event. The Sree Kanteerava Stadium should be packed to the rafters for this hotly-contested match and one where the players should be motivated to get a big win.
India and Pakistan have met multiple times in football competitions over the last few decades. Here we look at how the five recent most encounters panned out.
India 3-1 Pakistan (September 12, 2018)
The last encounter between India and Pakistan happened in the SAFF Championship 2018. Stephen Constantine was the Blue Tigers’ manager and helped them dominate their way to the semi-finals. In the semis, they met a resilient Pakistan side who made it out of their group in impressive fashion. India dominated the game, but found it a bit difficult to break down their rivals.
However, a motivated Manvir Singh stole the show by scoring two clinical goals within 70 minutes to give India a 2-0 lead. Sumeet Passi added a third late on, before Mohammed Ali scored a consolation for Pakistan in the dying minutes of the game. The Blue Tigers comprehensively defeated Pakistan and moved on to the SAFF Championship final, where they lost out to the Maldives.
India 0-2 Pakistan (August 20, 2014)
While not a competitive game, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) secured an agreement with the Pakistan Football Federation to hold two friendly matches in August 2014. The matches took place in Bengaluru, which will incidentally also be the venue for the upcoming SAFF Championship.
Pakistan ended up stunning India in the second of the two friendly matches, securing a 2-0 win! Pakistan forward Kaleemullah Khan put his side in the lead at the 39th-minute mark with a precise free-kick. The Blue Tigers tried their best to break the visitors and tested the goalkeeper with some attempts. However, Saddam Hussain put the game to bed with a goal in the 90th minute, giving Pakistan a rare win over India.
India 1-0 Pakistan (August 17, 2014)
The first of the two aforementioned friendly matches took place at the Karnataka State Football Association Stadium in Bengaluru. This was actually the first friendly match to take place between India and Pakistan in over nine years!
The Blue Tigers saw Pakistan dominate the early proceedings, before taking control of the game as it went along. Pronay Halder tested the goalkeeper Muzammil Hussain in the 14th minute with a well taken attempt. Robin Singh gave India the lead in the 44th minute to provide them an advantage heading into the lemon break. Robin however, got sent off in the second half and India had to play the last phase with 10 men, but some impressive defending and goalkeeping by Amrinder Singh helped them get the job done.
India 1-0 Pakistan (September 1, 2013)
In the 2013 edition of the SAFF Championship, India were clubbed in the same group with Pakistan. In their opening game, the Blue Tigers faced Pakistan at the Halchowk Stadium in Kathmandu. The game wasn’t as action-packed and a goal fest as the previous-most encounter – but a bit of a scruffy affair.
Pakistan defender Samar Ishaq scored an own goal in the 14th minute to gift India the lead. After that, tensions reached the peak as both teams tried to score and the game itself was a lively one. However, Pakistan failed to breach the Blue Tigers – who started their campaign with a win – which ultimately played a major role in helping them make it to the knockout stages.
India 3-1 Pakistan (21 March, 2011)
India had to play the qualifiers to make it to the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 and they met Pakistan in the qualification stages. The match took place, once again, at a neutral venue in the Petaling Jaya Stadium, Malaysia. Pakistan actually started the game on the front foot and took a surprising lead in the 32nd minute through forward Arif Mehmood.
India were put under immense pressure after that and the prospect of losing to their greatest rivals haunted them. However, Jeje Lalpekhlua came up big to score a brilliant equalizer in the 67th minute to bring the game level. Just as it looked like it would end up as a draw, India midfielder Steven Dias scored a clutch winner in the 90th minute – before Lalpekhlua added another one minute later to give the Blue Tigers a compelling 3-1 win in the end.
Source : Khelnow