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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Pakistan and India set to renew their rivalry on football pitch with matches in Bangalore

Neighbours have not faced each other since three-match series 2005

KARACHI // Pakistan’s football team are set to tour India for a two-match series, officials said on Thursday, as the two nations resume their rivalry after a nine-year hiatus.

The last time the two sides met was in 2005, when India toured Pakistan for a three-match series, which ended with one win apiece and a draw, though the hosts scored more goals.

Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said the team will play both matches in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

“We have been making all-out efforts to revive football ties with India and hope that these matches will prove to be a landmark in the sports relations of the two countries,” Lodhi said.

The Pakistan team will visit India from August 16 to 21 and play matches on August 17 and 20 in Bangalore.

India ceased all bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were carried out by Pakistan-based militants.

The PFF attempted to play against India in England in 2011, but the plan was shelved after sponsors backed out. A triangular series in England, involving India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was also cancelled last year because of a lack of funds.

When India toured Pakistan, the first match at Quetta ended in a 1-1 draw, while India went in front with a 1-0 victory in Peshawar. Pakistan won the third and final match at Lahore 3-0, taking the series on goal difference.

India, a cricket mad country, has shown greater interest in football after introducing the Indian Super League, which will be held in September this year.

They will also hold the Under-17 Fifa World Cup in 2017, aiming at inspiring a big youth population with the world event.

But both India and Pakistan lag at the bottom of the Fifa rankings released after the World Cup in Brazil this week.

India are 151st in the world while Pakistan languish at 165.

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