India beat Pakistan 1-0, takes the lead in two-match football series
BANGALORE (AFP): India defeated Pakistan 1-0 on Sunday in an emotionally-charged opener to take the lead in a two-match football series, the first between the arch-rivals for nine years.
The hosts hung on to their slender lead after striker Robin Singh scored in the 44th minute in front of thousands of cheering home fans at the Bangalore Football Stadium.
National Coach Wim Koevermans maintained it was “interesting to see how the boys responded playing with 10-men.” Koevermans was speaking in the Official Post-match Press Conference.
“I am overall happy with the game. Pakistan started better but we took it over and had a lot of possession. In fact, I had expected a better start in the 2nd half but even then, Pakistan started better,” he stated. “I am glad that on Wednesday (August 20), we can again re-start with 11 Players,” he added.
“I like wing play and we have we have our strengths there. But we need to improve on the final pass,” Koevermans admitted. “The presence of Robin (Singh) upfront is great. This was our sixth match in preparation for the Incheon Asian Games. The boys came from different I-League Clubs where they play differently. We have worked hard and tried to mould all into the formation we like to play,” he opined. Source: AIFF
Tempers became frayed on a number of occasions and angry words were exchanged, reflecting the high tensions associated with sporting clashes between India and Pakistan. The football series is the first since India toured Pakistan in 2005 in a three-match contest reported The Nation.
The current football series offers the teams an opportunity to assess their strengths and weaknesses before the Asian Games in South Korea next month. India have long struggled in world football and are currently ranked 150th out of 208 in the governing body FIFA’s rankings, while Pakistan are 164th. The second and final game will be played on Wednesday.