India wins its third South Asian FF Championship

India captain Baichung Bhutia became the first player in history to collect three South Asian Football Federation Championship winner's medals after his goal made the game safe in Saturday's final against defending champions Bangladesh in Karachi, Pakistan. Bhutia's late strike doubled India's advantage the tie after Mehraj Uddin had opened the scoring on the half-hour. He remains of the only squad member who took part in India's previous SAFF Championship triumphs in Kathmandu in 1997 and Goa 1999 when Bangladesh were also the runners-up.

This year's edition, the fourth, brought together eight nations from South Asia including: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Afghanistan and hosts Pakistan with all of the games being staged at the People's Sports Complex between 7 and 17 December 2005.

The two finalists had met five days earlier in the group stage in a closely-fought match that ended 1-1. Bangladesh eliminated Pakistan in the semi-final with a single goal victory and India did likewise, struggling to beat the Maldives with Nanjangud Manju's 38th minute goal proving to be the matchwinner.

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