After a goalless stalemate in regulation time, Karnataka edged past Maharashtra by a solitary goal in the extra time to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 64th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy in Kolkata.
Ngurneilal scored the decisive goal for Karnataka in the second minute of extra-time in a match that saw Maharashtra squander plenty of chances in the regulation time at the floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
Aided by some fine saves by custodian Nagendra, Karnataka did not give any chance to Maharashtra who also wasted some sitters to take the match to extra-time after a goalless affair in the match played on the artificial turf of YBK.
In the quarter-final league, Karnataka have been clubbed in a tough group featuring reigning champions Goa, Services and the winners of second pre-quarterfinal between Punjab and Manipur.
Karnataka will face a challenge from Goa in their last-eight league opener on July 29.
Earlier in the cluster stage matches of the day, Delhi beat Arunachal Pradesh 3-1 to begin their campaign on a winning note.
Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim also got off to winning starts in their respective cluster matches at different venues. In the cluster V match at YBK, former HAL midfielder Bhuvan Joshi struck in the 19th minute to help Delhi open their account.
After the break, Delhi scored through Vikash Rawat (53rd), but Arunachal Pradesh pulled one back through Bamin Tatung who slammed home in the 71st minute to make it 2-1.
However, Tuishim Nashangua sealed the issue for Delhi scoring in the 81st minute to earn three points.
In another match of the same cluster at Khardah Stadium, Madhya Pradesh blanked Uttar Pradesh 3-0 with a double strike from Tushar Chaudhary (76th, 82nd) and Irfan Zaman Khan's penalty conversion in the 20th minute.
In a cluster VI opener, Sikkim kicked off their campaign in style thrashing Haryana 4-0.
Tshering Lepcha (6th), Vikas Jairu (19th), Birendra Rai (22nd) and Rupesh Diyali (85th) struck in Sikkim's comprehensive win.