Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri on June 21 became the third active male footballer after icons Ronaldo and Messi to score 90 goals in international football. The 38-year-old scored a hat-trick, including two goals from penalties, against Pakistan in the 2023 SAFF Championship match, to make the feat. Ronaldo has scored 123 international goals, while Messi has netted 103 goals.
The Indian senior men’s football team started its SAFF Championship title defence by defeating Pakistan 4-0 in Group A match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. It was a big victory for India against Pakistan. In the 1999 SAF Games, the Blue Tigers had defeated their neighbour 5-2 with IM Vijayan scoring a hat-trick.
Chhetri is the third Indian to register a hat-trick against Pakistan after Puran Bahadur and IM Vijayan. This was Chhetri’s fourth international hat-trick that took his tally to 90 goals. Substitute Udanta Singh scored the fourth goal of the match.
In another match, Kuwait beat Nepal 3-1 in the tournament opener earlier in the day. India was on the top of the Group A standings on goal difference after match day 1.