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India face still task against Bangladesh in SAFF final

Source: PTI
December 17, 2005 09:01 IST

Three-time winners India will have a tough task against a relaxed and confident Bangladesh, who will be playing to defending their title, in the final of the SAFF championship at the floodlit Peoples Football Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

Both the teams are unbeaten in the tournament while their group match had also ended in a 1-1 draw. Midfielder Climax Lawrence had put the Indians ahead in the 17th minute while the Bangladeshis equalised 13 minutes from time through Zahid Hasan Ameli.

Celebrated Indian captain Baichung Bhutia, before the start of the competition, had voiced concern about lack of coordination that was clearly evident in the four matches when the Indians could score just six goals while missing plenty.

Bhutia will now be a more worried man as for the as he will be with the services of midfielder Mehtab Husain, who was red-carded for a dangerous tackle in the semi-final against the Maldives.

Husain is not only India's leading goal-scorer with two goals, but he is also the fastest goal scorer of the competition. He achieved the distinction against Nepal when he found the cage in the sixth minute.

Nevertheless, Mehrajuddin Wadoo is likely to be named in the starting line-up who returns after missing the semi-final because of a one-match suspension.

Contrary to the Indians, the Bangladeshis will be a more relaxed and confident team definitely fancying their chances of defending their title.

The Bangladeshis have scored seven goals in the tournament but, more importantly, their strikers have combined well and made maximum use of the opportunities.

Ariful Kabir Farhad, Rokonuzzaman Kanchan and Zahid Hasan Ameli have scored six of the seven goals between them.

To add woes to the worries of the struggling Indian strikers, Bangladesh goalkeeper Aminul Hoque has conceded just one goal in 315 minutes, that too against the Indians in the last league match.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will be the chief guest of the final that kicks off 1830 hours IST.

Teams (from)

India: Sandeep Nandi, Kalyan Choube, Felix D'Souza (all goalkeepers), Surkumar Singh, Mahesh Gawli, N.S. Manju, N.P. Pradeep, Rajeev Ahmed, M. Suresh, Mehrajuddin (all defenders), S. Venkatesh (vice-captain), Steven Dias, Climax Lawrence, Ajayan K. James Singh (all mid-fielders), Baichung Bhutia (captain), Syed Rahim Nabi, Abdul Hakim and Alvito D'Cunha (all forwards).

Bangladesh: Ranaji Kanta Barmon, Aminul Haq, Biplob Bhattacharya, M Sujan, Nazrul Islam, Hasan Al Mamun, Parvez Babu, Faisal Ahmed, Firoj Mahmud Titu, Arman Mia, Arif Khan Joy, Motiur Munna, Abul Hossain, Arman Azizi, Rokonuzzaman Kanchan, Ariful Kabir Farhad, Jahid Hossain Emili, Alfaz Ahmed, Mehedi Hasan Ujjal and Shahajuddin Tipu.

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