Punjab and Air India entered the final of the second Hockey India Senior Men's National Championship after contrasting semi-final victories, in Bangalore, on Monday.
While Air India came from behind to beat last year's runners-up Karnataka 3-2, Punjab outplayed defending champions Haryana 4-1.
Karnataka squandered a 2-0 lead as Air India scored the match-winner just at the final hooter.
Air India were out of the frame for a major portion of the match, even as Karnataka led 2-0, with Pundalik Bellary (32nd minute) and Nitin Thimmaiah (44th) scoring.
But a profitable 20-minute spell at the end of the second half changed the equation completely as three quick goals were scored.
Arjun Halappa converted two penalty-strokes (50th and 61st minute) before Vinaya Vokkaliga slammed home a penalty-corner just as the final hooter went.
This brought the curtain down on a stormy match that saw three yellow card suspensions.
Earlier, in the other semi-final, penalty-corner specialist Gurjinder Singh struck twice to help Punjab win.
Gurjinder continued his goal-scoring spree and converted two penalty-corners in 15th and 21st minutes, before Satbir Singh (51st) and skipper Sarvanjit Singh (55th) completed the tally for Punjab.
Naveen Antil got a consolation goal for Karnataka in the 58th minute.