The youthful exuberance of Central Railway helped them shock fancied Army XI from Bangalore 4-2 and enter the third round in the 43rd Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Central Railway pumped in three goals, two of them in the first-half, with dashing forward Rajeev Bhatkar accounting for the first and third and Shamim Baig notching the second goal before the Army team staged a fightback.
Army XI, winners of the Murugappa Cup in Chennai last week and runners-up in the Beighton Cup in Kolkata earlier to that, pulled two goals back by striking through center-half Pawal Lakra and Abinav Ganapathi.
However, Central's Nimit Lal converted their fourth and last penalty-corner in the dying minutes under fading light to earn the Railway side a meeting with either Southern Railway (Chennai) or Border Security Force (Jalandhar) for a place in the last 16.
Earlier, in another second round encounter that went to the sudden death tie-break, Jalandhar's Corps of Signals outlasted Mumbai's Air India 8-7 after the teams were locked 2-2 at the end of 70 minutes.
In two other first round encounters, All India Customs staved off a late fightback from Andhra XI to record a 4-3 verdict, after leading 4-0 at half-time, while Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai, got the better of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Jalandhar, 10-9 via the sudden death tie-break.
IOB and EME were locked 2-2 at the end of regulation time.