India captain Sunil Chhetri added another feather to his illustrious cap on Wednesday as he netted his fourth hat-trick for the country in the team's crushing win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the SAFF Cup 2023 in Bengaluru.
Chhetri opened the scoring in the 10th minute and then doubled India's lead six minutes later through a penalty kick.
The 38-year-old completed his hat-trick in the second half by converting another penalty after he was brought down by a rough tackle inside the Pakistani box.
Sunil Chhetri in elite company
Chhetri now has 90 goals for India, putting him fourth on the list of highest international scorers behind Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo (123), Iran legend Ali Daei (109) and Argentina's World Cup-winning skipper Lionel Messi (103).
Chhetri surpassed Malaysia's Mokhtar Dahari (89) after the hat-trick.
Ronaldo, Messi and Chhetri are the only active international players among the top five all-time goal-scorers in the sport.
"It's always very good to keep a clean-sheet and win the match, tough conditions to play on but what a win that too in front of this crowd, thanks to them they turned up - this is what we play for," Chhetri said after the match.
How Chhetri Scored the Hat-trick vs Pakistan
He scored the first goal after taking full advantage of an error from the Pakistan goalkeeper Saqib Hanif to find the empty net.
Chhetri then doubled the lead six minutes later after a handball from a Pakistani player inside his team's box.
He was then brought down inside Pakistan's box in the second half after a heavy tackle by the defender which resulted in a penalty for India.
Chhetri converted it in the 72nd minute before Udanta added the final goal in the 81st minute to cap off a clinical performance from the Blue Tigers.