Delhi's hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals suffered a big blow when they lost to Madhya Pradesh by a solitary goal in the Santosh Trophy football tournament in New Delhi on Sunday.
The all important goal was scored by striker Sonu Razak in the 17th minute for Madhya Pradesh, who played with 9 CRPF men, in a Cluster II match played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex.
Meanwhile, Punjab thrashed Tripura 7-0 in Cluster V to smoothen their progress to the next round. This was the second big win for the former champions who had defeated Chhattisgarh 5-0 in their first match.
Overall it was a day of upsets in the 59th edition of the National Championship as Gujarat and Chhattisgarh bounced back after going down tamely in their first encounters.
Gujarat, who lost to Delhi 0-6 in the inaugural match, defeated Assam 3-2 in Cluster II and Chhattisgarh hammered Meghalaya 5-1 in Cluster V.
In Cluster VI matches played at Chhatrasal Stadium, Karnataka beat Himachal Pradesh 4-0 and Haryana got the better of Rajasthan 3-1.
For Delhi, who lined up a few star players from Kolkata and Goa, it was a tale of missed chances and bad luck as Madhya Pradesh put in a fighting performance in their first match.
Delhi's defeat threw Cluster II wide open with three teams -- Delhi, Gujarat and MP -- scoring one win each.
However, MP have an edge over their rivals with two matches in hand.
Delhi began slowly like they did against Gujarat but slowly found the going tough as the MP defence marshalled by Kamalesh Kumar and Amumcha Singh bottled Delhi's star player Sunil Chetri.
Mohun Bagan player Chetri, who had scored four goals against Gujarat, looked a bit off colour and also got very little space to manouvre in the rival box.
A lot of credit for MP grabbing all three points against their fancied rivals should also go to their goalkeeper S D Shyam who brought off acrobatic saves time and again to deny Delhi. He was equally at ease gathering aerial balls and also when tested with snap shots and firm grounders.
Stung by Razak's goal, the hosts tried their best to come back but wasted plenty of chances in the first half when they failed to make use of three gilt edged chances.
Delhi also had their share of bad luck as Chetri and Sumit Thapa saw their shots ricocheting off the post in the first session.
Their desperation shot up as the match veered towards the end and play got bit rough towards the close ending in the ejection of Delhi defender Pushpender Kundu for a tough tackle.
Meanwhile, Punjab pounded seven goals on a hapless Tripura to maintain their cent per cent record.
Captain Gurjit Singh Atwal scored a hat-trick (13th min, 74, 86) while Harvinder Singh netted two (50, 80). Midfielders Baldeep Singh (70) and Parveen Kumar (59) beat the Tripura custodian once each as Punjab took their points tally to six from two outings.
In another interesting encounter in Cluster II, Gujarat surprised one and all with their 3-2 win over Assam.
If Assam coach Ganesh Rai thought Rajiv Karir's goal in the 14th minute was just a flash in the pan, the Gujarat team proved him wrong slotting two more goals in the second half.
The western state regained their lead in the 56th minute through Devdasan after Assam restored parity riding on a goal from Manoj Boto in the 49th minute.
As the two teams continued their up and down duel Assam equalled for a second time through striker Akum Ao in the 74th minute.
As the match entered the last stretch, Karir scored the winner six minutes from close to lift the spirits of his team after the crushing defeat against the hosts on Thursday.
Against Himachal, M Sateesh netted a brace (68, 84) while P Rajinder Prasad (13) and S Dayanand scored one each for Karnataka in their 4-0 win. They had earlier beat Haryana 1-0.
Chhattisgarh took the lead against Meghalaya in the 5th minute through Sardar Balbir Singh only to see Roding Sangma nullifying the strike in the 29th minute.
But that was the end of the road for Meghalaya, who had defeated Tripura 5-2, as Chhattisgarh scored two more goals in the second half after leading 3-1 at the break.
Mohd Rizwan (41), Ajit Ekka (45), Suvir Majhi (67) and Kulwant Singh (77) were the other scorers for Chhattisgarh.
Against Haryana, Rajasthan were sitting pretty on an 8th minute goal by Afzal before crashing to defeat in the last 10 minutes.
Habib Khan equalised in the 81st minute and soon Rajasthan players were shaking their heads in disbelief as Vikram (88) and Praveen Arora (89) gave finishing touches to a spirited fightback.
Cluster V: (Thyagraj Stadium)
Punjab 7 (Gurjit Singh Atwal 13th min, 74, 86; Harvinder Singh 50, 80; Baldeep Singh 70; Parveen Kumar 59) beat Tripura 0.
Chhattisgarh 5 (Sardar Balbir Singh 5; Mohd Rizwan 41; Ajit Ekka 45; Suvir Majhi 67; Kulwant Singh 77) beat Meghalaya 1 (Roding Sangma 29).
Cluster II: (JNS Complex)
Gujarat 3 (Rajiv Karir 14, 86; Devdasan 56) beat Assam 2 (Manoj Boto 49, Akum Ao 74).
Madhya Pradesh 1 (Sonu Razak 17) beat Delhi 0.
Karnataka 4 (S K Dayanand 9; P Rajender Prasad 13; M Satish Kumar 68, 84) beat Himachal Pradesh 0.
Haryana 3 (Habib Khan 81; Vikram 88; Praveen Arora 89) beat Rajasthan 1 (Afzal 8).