Sunil Chhetri India
India skipper Sunil Chhetri played a key role in helping his team get past PakistanAIFF

It was not as tense, tight and filled with immense quality as an India vs Pakistan cricket match, but there were plenty of niggles, and battles, with a red card, plenty of chances and a goal thrown in to ensure the packed-to-the-rafters crowd at the Bangalore Football Stadium would not leave disappointed.

The U-23 Asian Games tune-up match between India and Pakistan saw the home side come away with a 1-0 victory, courtesy a goal from Sunil Chhetri, with the skipper's Bengaluru FC teammate Robin Singh, who set the goal up, then getting sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence.

While India just about deserved the win, Pakistan showed plenty of quality and fight as well, with only the final strike missing from their armoury.

Pakistan started the much brighter, keeping the ball decently, with India left to spring on the counter whenever possible. Most of the attacks for Pakistan came down the right, with full-back Faisal Iqbal especially impressing with his energy and will to push forward at every opportunity.

India were forced to look for the quick long ball in the first 20 minutes or so, with the home side looking to make use of Robin Singh's power. The big striker nearly got through on goal on a couple of occasions, with only an offside flag and the referee's whistle stopping the Bengaluru FC forward from taking a crack on goal.

Pronay Haldar had India's first real shot on goal, though, with the midfielder firing his strike from 25 yards well wide.

India, slowly but surely, grew into the game, as Pakistan lost their early momentum, and the home team fashioned a brilliant opportunity a little before the half hour mark with only the palms of the Pakistan goalkeeper Muzammil Hussain keeping the scores at 0-0.

Chhetri picked up the ball just outside the Pakistan penalty area before playing the ball through to his Bengaluru FC teammate Robin Singh down the left channel. The striker's cut-back found Ralte, who saw his effort brilliantly kept out by Hussain.

India started to crank up the pressure soon after with a Narayan Das cross from the left eventually falling to Chhetri, whose shot, with the goalkeeper out of position, was deflected away for a corner.

Das and Mandar Rao Desai combined well on a few occasions for India on the left flank, pinging in a couple of crosses, while Ralte was the chief playmaker, looking to orchestrate moves from midfield.

With India growing in confidence, you just felt a goal was coming and come it did right on the stroke of halftime via the head of Robin Singh, and then probably the feet of Chhetri. A corner from Ralte was headed wonderfully by Robin Singh, with the ball striking the far post and creeping in with a little help from Chhetri.

Pakistan nearly equalised early in the second half, desperate to get back on level terms, but Amrinder Singh did well to deny Kallem Ullah's close-range header from nestling into the net.

India again grew stronger as the half wore on, and the Bengaluru FC duo were beginning to enjoy themselves in this match, with the two stars again combining before Chhetri eventually saw his strike from an angle kept out by Muzammil Hussain. Chhetri would squander another chance soon after, firing high and wide after springing clear in behind the Pakistan defence, who kept a high line for much of the game, with Hussain acting as a sweeper on a few occasions.

It wouldn't be an India vs Pakistan match without a bit of controversy now would it, and that moment came in the 70th minute as Robin Singh saw red after a tussle with xx. It was a nothing challenge really and should not have been a red card, with xx falling to the ground dramatically under apparent contact from the India striker well after the ball had gone out of play.

The referee took some time and brandished a second yellow card, ending Robin Singh's match early, much to the disappointment of the capacity crowd.

Despite going down to ten men, however, India remained in control, with Chhetri looking in the mood, opening up the Pakistan defence with a wonderful pass to Ralte, who saw his cross to the awaiting striker cleared in the nick of time.

Pakistan had a glorious opportunity to equalise late in the game, with Kalim Ullah put clear by a nice pass from substitute Sher Ali, but the skipper saw his rather scuffed shot turned around the post by Amrinder.

There were a couple more opportunities for the away side as India grew more and more nervous as the clock wound down, but the home team held on to pick up a victory in the first of two friendly matches, with more of the same expected when the two sides clash again on Wednesday.