Army XI, Bangalore, displayed superior stamina and fitness in sultry conditions as they beat Air India by a solitary goal and retained the title in the 47th Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The armymen were up and running with the same speed and zeal right through the 70 minutes of play -- even as the local league champions flagged in the second half -- to lift the prestigious crown for the third time in four years and second successive year.
The match-winner was fittingly scored by their captain and drag-flicker D Mahadik, who was on target off their second and last penalty-corner in the 65th minute.
Mahadik was also declared 'Player of the Tournament' and took home Rs 10,000.
Mahadik had an outstanding match, spraying passes to his forwardline, in which Eliazer Lakra and Sunil Ekka stood out, and policing Air India's danger man, four-time Olympian Dhanraj Pillay effectively to leave him a mere spectator for most of the match.
Army XI received the winner's prize of Rs 1.25 lakh while Air India, who were striving to regain the title they last won for the second year running in 2002, had to be satisfied with the runners-up purse of Rs 75,000.
Indian Oil defeated Punjab and Sind Bank 4-2 to win the hardliners' match.