After winning the first friendly match against Pakistan 1-0, India gave up a goal in each half of the second match to concede the 2-0 victory to Pakistan.
Pakistan took the lead in the 39th minute on a Kaleem Ullah free kick. Pakistan’s Saddam Hussain added insult to injury when he sealed the victory with a goal in the 90th minute.
After a solid start in the first match, 5,000 fans in Bangalore were hoping for a repeat performance. India had their share of opportunities in the first half as Sunil Chhetri continued to create scoring opportunities. Pakistan goalkeeper Muzamil Husain’s composure and alertness was firing on all cylinders as he made save after save.
As expected, there were plenty of heated moments on the field. Chhetri’s frustration seemed to build as he continued to be one of the best players on the field while receiving no support from his teammates. Him losing his cool and arguing with the opposition was not the best option, especially given the international importance of such a match.
There is consistently tension between India and Pakistan. And this match was proof. One moment saw the fans yelling “Go Home, Pakistan” amongst a flurry of unnecessary chants. If both sides can’t contain their emotions in the future, the hope for a renewed sports rivalry will be gone once again.
These friendly matches have featured primarily under-23 players. Both sides are preparing for the AsianGames in Korea in September.
After the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India had severed all sports-related ties with Pakistan. Much more recently, however, both sides have agreed to re-engage in what was once a great rivalry, not only in football but cricket too.
India is ranked No. 150 in FIFA’s world rankings; Pakistin is No. 164.