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PHOTOS: 10-man India beat arch rivals Pakistan in first football friendly

August 17, 2014 20:24 IST

PHOTOS: 10-man India beat arch rivals Pakistan in first football friendly

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Down to 10 men, India showed character to prevail 1-0 over Pakistan in the first friendly football match, in Bangalore, on Sunday.

Will football improve Indo-Pak ties?

In the first of the two friendly matches, which is also Pakistan's maiden appearance in a bilateral series in India, the visitors were laid low after Robin Singh and captain Sunil Chhetri combined to put India in lead in the 44th-minute.

India skipper Chhetri, who plays his club football for Bengaluru FC, tapped it in after Robin's flick off a Lalrindika Ralte corner hit the post.

The goal coming off the efforts of Robin Singh who was sent off midway into the second half, made it a bitter-sweet day for the local striker.

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Image: The Indian team takes the field
Photographs: AIFF Media

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PHOTOS: 10-man India beat arch rivals Pakistan in first football friendly

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Robin was given marching orders in the 69th minute for receiving his second yellow card of the match. Thereafter, India played with 10 men against a strong Pakistan, a fact which national coach Wim Koevermans stressed post-match that he was "keen to see how the boys responded".

The goal came at the stroke of interval. Even as everyone was expecting the whistle for the break, India earned another of their many corners of the day.

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Image: The Indian starting line-up for the first match against Pakistan
Photographs: AIFF Media

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PHOTOS: 10-man India beat arch rivals Pakistan in first football friendly

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Ralte, who along with Pronoy Halder had played a stellar, role for India in the AFC U-22 AFC Qualifiers in Muscat in 2012, and were displaying glimpses of their 'telepathy' on the field, curled in his corner at the first post which was met by Robin Singh.

An agile Chhetri poached on the rebound and gleefully converted from close.

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Image: The two coaches greet each prior to the match
Photographs: AIFF Media

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PHOTOS: 10-man India beat arch rivals Pakistan in first football friendly

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Earlier, Pakistan were faster off the blocks, but India slowed it down, seized the initiative, kept the ball to themselves and slowly pushed the visitors onto the backfoot.

The confidence was visible and a series of raids even paved the way for some more goals only for the rival defence to recover in time.

The best chance in the first half came in the 29th minute but Pakistan goalkeeper Saqib Hanif stood in between. The triangle of Chhetri, Robin and Ralte almost put India ahead.

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Image: The Pakistan team
Photographs: AIFF Media

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As the match progressed, the nimble-footed Mandar Rao Desai, growing in confidence on the left flank was a thorn in the Pakistan defence.

Post resumption, Mandar was still weaving webs around Faisal Iqbal on the left. In the 56th minute, he dribbled past Iqbal to create space but his cross went wayward.

India did have their moments even after that. Mandar, Chhetri and Ralte interchanged between themselves and found space but Mandar's cross was intercepted in time as Pakistan hung on.

The numerical superiority spurred Pakistan and they came close to restoring parity on a couple of occasions. Once, Kalem Ullah's header off a corner bounced off the post and in the last minute, a placement from Saddam Hussain agonizingly went wide.

The two teams meet again in the second match on Wednesday.


Image: The fans in the stadium
Photographs: AIFF Media

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