Match Preview – India lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan to kickstart the SAFF Championship 2023


After putting up an extraordinary show in the Hero Intercontinental Cup in Odisha, the Blue Tigers have travelled all the way down South to Bengaluru for the SAFF Championship 2023. The Indian National Football Team have created a buzz across the Nation with their win in the Intercontinental Cup Final and their new and beautiful brand of football under head coach Igor Stimac.


Our preparations for the AFC Asian Cup continue as we kick start our campaign in the SAFF Cup, with a mouth-watering fixture against arch-rivals Pakistan at 7:30 pm on the 21st of June 2023, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

Be it Cricket or Football, the one game which brings the entire Nation to its feet is India vs Pakistan. This match in the SAFF Cup is one of the most highly anticipated games in South Asian football. The two teams have a long and storied rivalry, from Sunil Chhetri scoring his first-ever International goal to the ever-intense affairs. This game is expected to be no different, with both teams looking to come out on top.

Recent Form

The Blues recently concluded their campaign in the Hero Intercontinental Cup and a Tri-Nation Series in Imphal and to much delight and positivity for the side, they not just managed to remain unbeaten but also have 6 clean sheets in a row with their performances in these tournaments. It is now over 540 minutes that the likes of Sandesh Jhingan and co have not conceded a single goal which adds to a massive amount of confidence in the backline.

India managed to win 2-0 against Mongolia in the first match of the Hero Intercontinental Cup and went on to win 1-0 against Vanuatu and drew 0-0 against Lebanon in the two remaining matches. The Final was the standout performance among all the matches where the Blue Tigers managed to get the better of Lebanon by a 2-0 margin.


Pakistan on the other hand have brought in significant changes in their squad and are looking to try and make things work as an unit. In order to do so they have played a few friendlies the last 4 of which were against Maldives, Mauritius, Kenya and Djibouti. Although the results might be a bit deceptive with 4 back-to-back losses of 1-0, 3-0, 1-0 and 1-3 respectively the Pakistan team is gradually putting their tactics in place through these matches and will be putting up a tough fight.

Team NewsIndia

The Indian squad for the SAFF Cup somewhat looks the same as the one that played in the Hero Intercontinental Cup, with the injuries persisting in the camp, but adding to the misery was Ishan Pandita who was injured and unavailable in the previous match against Lebanon will miss out from the squad for the SAFF Cup, for injury concerns.

Head-to-head record

India have faced Pakistan 24 times in the past with 11 Wins in favour of the Blues and 3 wins for the Pak Shaheen. The 10 of the remaining fixtures were evenly settled for a draw.

The last time the two sides played on Indian soil was in 2014 but their most recent meeting ended up in a 3-1 victory for the hosts, in the previous edition of the SAFF Championship.

Match Preview - India lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan to kickstart the SAFF Championship 2023 image00001 1 1

Probable Starting line-ups

India XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Akash Mishra, Jeakson Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sunil Chhetri (C), Mahesh Naorem Singh.

Pakistan XI Yousaf Butt, Mamoon Moosa, Sufiyan Asif, Abdullah Iqbal, Ali Khan Naizi, Rahis Nabi, Uzair Mahmood, Easah Suliman, Otis Khan, Harun Hamid, Hassan Bashir.

Pakistan’s decision to allow foreign-origin players to play on their team has been a topic of discussion in the lead-up to the match. The move is seen as a way to strengthen their side and give them an edge over India, who have traditionally been the stronger team in the tournament. However, India has a talented squad, and they will be looking to maintain their dominance over Pakistan.

There had been a lot of issues that the Pakistan team had to overcome to ensure their visit to India but after all the hardships Pakistan will be looking to make a statement and show that they belong among the top teams in the region. India, on the other hand, will be looking to continue their winning ways and cement their status as the team to beat in the tournament.

The game is expected to be a closely contested affair, with both teams evenly matched. India has a strong defence, led by captain Sandesh Jhingan, while Pakistan has a potent attack, fueled by their foreign-origin additions to the squad. The match could come down to which team can execute their game plan better on the day.

Match Preview - India lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan to kickstart the SAFF Championship 2023 image00007

Overall, India vs Pakistan match promises to be an exciting and memorable occasion for fans of both teams. The rivalry between the two sides adds an extra layer of intensity to the game, and it is sure to be a closely contested affair. The fans are ready and Bengaluru is ready for the big occasion.

Follow IFTWC for the latest updates on Indian Football.

Latest news

Punjab FC Season Preview – 2023/24

Punjab FC, the freshly promoted team in the 2023-24 ISL season, is poised to make an impact right from...

Mohun Bagan SG Season Preview – 2023/24

Mohun Bagan SG had a very strong start to this year's pre-season as they emerged as the champions of...

Odisha FC Season Preview – 2023-24

Odisha FC has been getting better over the last three seasons. They started at the bottom of the table...

Chennaiyin FC Season Preview – 2023/24

For the fourth straight season, Chennaiyin FC will have a new manager at the helm. There are plenty of...

Kerala Blasters FC Season Preview – 2023-24

Kerala Blasters FC, a club whose prowess lies in their exceptional fan base, didn't had a good time in...

Indian Super League 2023-24 : Live Streaming & Telecast Details

In an exciting development for football enthusiasts across India, the Indian Super League (ISL) is set to break new...

Must read

7 Title Winning Coaches in 2023-24 – The Most Exciting ISL Season Awaits?

Recently, Manolo Marquez, the former Hyderabad FC, and the...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you