Chandigarh:A spirited Bangalore Hi-Fliers played out of their skin to beat Chandigarh Dynamos 2-1 and win the fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League at the Sector 42 stadium on Friday.
In the keenly-fought third final, High-Fliers' Len Aiyappa (32nd minute) and You Hyo Sik (62nd) scored to help their side regain the title after a gap of one year. Sandeep Singh (69th) netted the consolation goal for Dynamos.
After the come-from-behind title victory, in which the Tushar Khandekar-led side had lost the first of the best-of-three finals, the Bangalore team took home a winner's purse of Rs 40 lakh, while the runners-up bagged Rs 20 lakh prize money.
In the second edition of the tournament in 2006, they had emerged champions as Bangalore Lions.
In a thrilling competition, Bangalore guarded against conceding early goals and their strategy of strong man-to-man marking paid off.
On the other hand, their forwards combined well to initiate several moves. However, Dynamos goalkeeper Baljit Singh made several commendable saves to thwart the Hi-Fliers from taking lead until the dying minutes of the second quarter.
On one occasion Baljit tackled Korean Hyo Sik and on another he stood like a rock to foil a crafty move created by Arjun Halappa, Tushar Khandekar and Hari Prasad.
Arjun Halappa sent in a flying cross from the mid-field to a lone Tushar Khandekar inside the circle, but the latter's swipe went just wide and Dynamos goalkeeper Baljit jumped to his right to ensure that the ball stayed away from the goal.
After the heroics of Baljit in the first quarter, it was the turn of his counterpart Bharat Chetri. The High-Fliers'
custodian made three back-to-back spectacular saves to ward off the challenges from Ravi Pal Singh and Deepak Thakur.
The Dynamos reciprocated with Ravi Pal initiating a threatening move. He gave a superb pass to an unmarked Rajpal inside the circle and the Chandigarh captain's hit missed the target narrowly.
The Hi-Fliers took the lead via a penalty corner towards close of second quarter. Len Aiyappa, off-colour till then, got back his touch to fire a drag-flick that kissed defender Sandeep Singh's stick before rushing into the net.
Chetri again turned out to be the Bangalore's hero in the third quarter as well. Exhibiting admirable reflexes, he leapt to his left to palm away a Sandeep Singh shot off a penalty corner as the High-Fliers had a close shave.
At the stroke of the third quarter, the contest became more intense with the Dynamos getting a short corner. All the 10 players of the Dynamos got into the act to bank on the chance, but the variation adopted by them did not work out.
Bangalore sealed the issue in their favour after veteran schemer Arjun Halappa sent in a diagonal cross to Hari Prasad on the right. The young forward hit it into the 'D' and Korean You Hyo Sik tapped it in to extend the lead.
The Chandigarh team fought hard to reduce the margin, but their raids were either foiled by Chetri or went futile due to lack of finishing touches.
Hi-Fliers had another chance to make it 3-0, but Aiyappa's drag-flick hit the top of the goalpost and rebounded before being cleared by Dynamos defenders.
In the closing moments, Dynamos managed to earn a shor corner and Sandeep shot home to reduce the margin.
The Hi-Fliers also collected additional Rs 1.5 lakh after being chosen for Fairplay Award.