International hat-tricks scored by Indian footballers

From R. Lumsden to Sunil Chhetri, we look at the Indian footballers who've scored hat-tricks in international football.

Sunil Chhetri holds the distinction of being the only Indian footballer to have three international hat-tricks   -  PTI

The Blue Tigers, as the Indian men's football team is known, played their first international match in September 1938. Here, Sportstar looks at the Indian footballers who have netted hat-tricks in international football over the years. 

R. Lumsden (September 24, 1938)

R. Lumsden was the first to net a hat-trick in the Indian jersey and he achieved the feat back in 1938. Lumsden, a British Indian, had struck a hat-trick in a friendly against Australia. However, the Indians lost 5-4 and it remains the only instance when India lost a game when its player scored a hat-trick.

Sheoo Mewalal (March 16, 1952)

Sheeo Mewalal became the first player to score a hat-trick post-India's independence. Mewalal’s heroics powered the nation to a 4-0 win over Burma in the Colombo Quadrangular tournament in 1952. He was one of India’s best strikers at the time and was part of the 1948 Olympics team and even scored against Dutch club Ajax in an exhibition game. He was the top-scorer at the 1951 Asian Games and led India to the gold medal.

Read: The decade in football: The birth of Indian Super League

Puran Bahadur Thapa (December 26, 1954)    

Two years after Mewalal, Puran Bahadur Thapa bagged a hat-trick to steer India to a 3-1 triumph against Pakistan in the Calcutta Quadrangular tournament held at the Eden Gardens. India won the tournament, for the second time running, and went on to win it the next two years as well.

Neville D’Souza (December 1, 1956)

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Neville D'Souza is the first Asian to net a hat-trick at the Olympics   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Neville D’Souza became the first Asian footballer to score a hat-trick in the Olympics as his heroics gave India a 4-2 victory over Australia at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

He was the joint top-scorer of the tournament with four strikes and ensured India became the first Asian nation to enter the semifinal of the Olympics. He struck again in the semifinal against Yugoslavia, but India lost the game 4-1.

Marto Gracias (August 16, 1967)

India’s next hat-trick came 11 years later in a 4-0 blanking of Hong Kong in the Merdeka tournament in 1967 held in Kuala Lumpur. Marto Gracias was the match-winner as his strikes earned the Blue Tigers a comfortable win.

Subhash Bhowmick (August 5, 1971)

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Subhash Bhowmick (in picture) is the sixth Indian to score a hat-trick   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Subhash Bhowmick’s three-goal feat saw him become the sixth Indian to score a hat-trick in an international game as India beat the Philippines 5-1 at the 1971 Merdeka tournament.

Bhowmick was among the top footballers at the time and played for both the Kolkata giants, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

Magan Singh Rajvi (July 23, 1974)

Former India captain Magan Singh Rajvi bagged a hat-trick against Thailand in the 1974 Merdeka tournament. India won the match 4-2. He was also a part of the Indian team that won the bronze medal at the 1970 Asian Games. He was conferred with the Arjuna award in 1973.  

Shabbir Ali (August 16, 1976)

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Shabbir Ali's (front) hat-trick for India came against Indonesia   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Among the best striker of his generation, Shabbir Ali struck thrice within the opening 35 minutes to guide India to a 3-1 win over Indonesia in the Merdeka tournament held in Kuala Lumpur. He went on to make over 70 appearances for the national team.

I. M. Vijayan (September 26 and September 28, 1999)

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I.M. Vijayan (10) has two international hat-tricks to his name   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

One of the best strikers India has produced, I. M. Vijayan struck two hat-tricks in as many days to propel India to the semifinals of the 1999 South Asian Games. Vijayan’s first hat-trick came in a 5-2 thrashing of Pakistan and this was followed by another fine show in a 3-0 win against Bhutan.

Vijayan had scored in the very first minute against Bhutan. India lost in the semis but won the bronze medal and Vijayan finished as the tournament's top-scorer with seven goals.

Sunil Chhetri (August 13, 2008; October 8, 2010; June 1 2018)

Sunil Chhetri is the only Indian to have scored three hat-tricks in international football. Chhetri, who is currently India’s most-capped footballer, brought up his first hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Tajikistan in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup.

He once again got his name thrice on the scoresheet in a friendly against Vietnam in 2010. India won the tie 3-1.

Chhetri, who is second on the list of highest active international goal-scorers, struck his third hat-trick against Chinese Taipei in the 2018 Intercontinental Cup. His exploits saw India coast to a 5-0 win and eventually lift the title. Chhetri led the scoring charts with eight goals from four matches.

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