Pakistan suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of India in their opening match of the SAFF Cup 2023 in Bengaluru on Wednesday but they had a difficult build-up to the match which might have played a factor in their loss.
Sunil Chhetri scored a hat-trick while Udanta netted the fourth as India crushed Pakistan 4-0 on a rainy night in Bengaluru.
Defender Easah Suliman highlighted the fact that the entire squad reached the city just a few hours before the high-profile match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium which made it difficult for them to regroup and focus on the game.
"It was very difficult for us today, we had 24 hours of traveling and most of our players only arrived in Bangalore at 5PM today. It's not an excuse it's a fact," Suliman said after the game.
Pakistan reach Bengaluru in two batches
The squad also arrived in two batches from Mumbai as they didn't get tickets in one flight. They also had to face a delay in getting their Indian visas before leaving from Mauritius, where they were training for this match.
The bizarre chain of events was set off after the Pakistan team arrived in Mumbai from Mauritius at 1:00 am on Wednesday morning.
The Pakistan squad comprising 32 members -- players and coaching staff -- could not find seats in a single aircraft and was forced to split into two groups.
The first set boarded a 4:00 am flight to Bengaluru, but the second lot took a 9.15 am flight due to some issues pertaining to immigration clearance at the Mumbai airport.
The second batch reached their team hotel close to the Kanteerava Stadium only past 1:00 pm, barely six hours ahead of the kickoff. (With PTI inputs)