BANGALORE – Pakistan pulled off a surprise 2-0 win over India in the second friendly U-23 football match on Wednesday, with a late goal from player Saddam Hussain.
Pakistan's captain Kaleemullah put his side ahead in the 38th minute and a scrambled shot by Hussain in the 89th minute silenced the 5,000 Indian spectators at the Bangalore Football Stadium. The home fans had been hoping for more of the same after India won the first match on Sunday 1-0, at the start of the first series between the neighbours since India toured Pakistan in 2005.
India came close to opening the scoring when a dipping long-range effort by skipper Sunil Chhetri was palmed away by Pakistan's goalkeeper Muzamil Husain. Chhetri set up debutant Haokip Thonhkosiem to score in the 37th minute, only to see his attempt saved by Husain. Francis Fernandes then squandered a golden opportunity to score off the rebound.
A minute later Pakistan went ahead when Kaleemullah swept home a free kick after being brought down by Indian midfielder Lalrindika Ralte just outside the box. India swarmed forward in the second half in an increasingly desperate bid to find an equaliser but could not breach a determined Pakistani defence.
Their hopes were finally extinguished when Hussain poked the ball home after a solo run into the Indian penalty box. The players hugged and shook hands on the final whistle before the Pakistani team took a victory lap, waving their national flag.
The teams are next set to compete in the Asian Games starting in South Korea next month.