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India vs Pakistan: A look at the rivalry on the football field

With the Pakistan Football Federation reaching out to AIFF to organise friendlies, here is a detailed look at their footballing history.

India vs Pakistan football rivalry

India vs Pakistan in 2014 (Source: AFP)


Sayan Chatterjee

Updated: 24 March 2021 4:41 AM GMT

According to Pakistani agency, Geo Super TV, the Chairman of the Pakistan Football Federation's (PFF) Normalisation Committee, Haroon Malik, has reportedly reached out to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in order to initiate international friendly games between the two countries. In an interview, Mr. Malik has confirmed that the PFF has also contacted various other federations in South Asian countries with a view towards increasing game time for its men and women football teams.

While the AIFF is yet to revert to the proposal, this seems like a perfect time to revisit the footballing history between the two rival nations. For the uninitiated, they have faced each other 24 times since independence, with India winning 11 times and Pakistan winning just thrice. The remaining 10 games were draws. Here is the era-wise distribution of the matches:

Before the 90s

The first meeting between the two teams was back in 1959 for the qualifiers of the AFC Asian Cup the following year. In two qualifying matches, both sides won one each by the same margin of 1-0. They met again for the qualifiers of the 1968 Asian Cup which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Next was a 2-0 victory for India in the 1984 Asian Cup qualifiers. The legendary Shabbir Ali scored both the goals, one in each half, in what was a comfortable win for India. The 80s ended with another clash between the arch rivals in the 1987 South Asian Games which ended in a goalless draw in Kolkata (then Calcutta).

The 90s

The new decade began with another goalless draw between the two in the 1991 South Asian Games. This was followed by a 2-0 victory for India in the Asian Cup qualifiers a year later. The goalscorer? A young IM Vijayan who scored a brace at a packed Salt Lake stadium. The next year in 1993, India again pulled one over their neighbours with a 3-1 victory. IM Vijayan got on the scoresheet with yet another brace while a third was added by Kumaresh Bhawal. For Pakistan, Muhammed Nauman Khan got the consolation goal.

Then between 1997 and 1999, the two sides met four times. Indian won three of those games, two 2-0 results in the 1997 and 1999 SAFF Championships and a 5-2 thrashing in the South Asian Federation Games in 1999. The other match was yet another goalless draw in the 1998 South Asian Nations Cup.

This century

Since the turn of the century, the two rivalling nations have squared off against each other 11 times. Pakistan have just two victories to show for their efforts during this period, a 1-0 win in the 2003 SAFF Championship and a 3-0 victory in a friendly match in 2005. Keeping aside three drawn games, India have gotten the better of their neighbours in six games, four in SAFF Championships and two in standalone friendlies.

The most recent match was played in Dhaka during the 2018 SAFF Championships with India emerging comfortable 3-1 victors and progressing into the final. Manvir Singh scored a brace while Sumeet Passi further extended the margin while Pakistan's Muhammad Ali got their solitary goal.

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