Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Skipper Sunil Chhetri opened the account for India in just 16 minutes against Pakistan in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship on Wednesday.

Chhetri capitalized on Pakistan goalkeeper Saqib Hanif’s howler and broke the deadlock inside the first 10 minutes, slotting home from close range. The rampaging forward went on to score a brace and in the process doubled the lead for India by scoring from the spot after Anirudh Thapa’s effort struck Mamoon Moosa’s left arm. Chhetri doubled the lead for India in the 16th minute.

When India were putting up a dominant display, a huge brawl broke out between the players. The ugly incident happened after India’s head coach Igor Stimac stopped Abdullah Iqbal from taking a quick throw in.

However, Pakistan players and head coach Shahzad Anwar lost their cool following the incident and they confronted Stimac, who was sent off.

India’s head coach Stimac was visibly disappointed with the referee’s decision to give the throw in to Pakistan. He thought that right back Pritam Kotal was fouled in the process. The incident took place minutes before the break.

Meanwhile, Shahzad was also penalised for hurling abuses at Stimac. He was only given a warning (yellow card).

Eventually, a hat-trick from Chhetri guided India to a thumping 4-0 win over their arch-rival.