Delhi had to sweat it out to get the better of a resilient Chhattisgarh 6-5 (2-2) in the penalty shootout to advance into the quarter-final league of the 64th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at Howrah Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Tuishim Mashangva scored the decisive goal for Delhi in the shootout that they won 4-3 under poor light condition.
Earlier, a brace by Mashangva who scored in the 39th and 48th minutes saw Delhi take a 2-0 lead but Chhattisgarh made a strong second-half comeback to restore parity 2-2 and take the match into extra time.
Chhattisgarh made it 1-2 through Mohammad M Siddique in the 65th minute, while the scoreline became 2-2 with Delhi conceding an own goal by Amjan Ali Khan in the 80th minute.
Delhi joined last year's runner-up Bengal, Tamil Nadu and winners of the fourth pre-quarterfinal in the Group B of the quarterfinal league stage. They will open their last-eight campaign against Bengal on July 30.
Delhi took the lead in the 39th minute when Mashangva headed it home following a goalmouth melee. Chhattisgarh defenders were beaten in an aerial tussle with Mashngva giving Delhi 1-0 lead in the first 45 minutes of the match.
Both teams started watchfully with Cluster V toppers Delhi dominating on few occasions inside the first-half, even as Chhattisgarh looked pale in comparison.
After taking the lead, Delhi intensified the pressure with the Cluster VI toppers finding the going slippery.
In a twin blow for Chhattisgarh, Delhi made it 2-0 immediately after the changeover. Just three minutes after the break, Mashngva continued his fine run when he headed the ball from a midfield lob for his second goal.
Chhattisgarh custodian Partha Dey charged out to take the possession as Mashngva latched on the opportunity to convert it without any hassle.
But soon the match tilted in favour of Chhattisgarh with coach Santanu Singh making a tactical substitution in the forward line-up.
After the changeover, Kulwant Singh was replaced by Siddique who brought some much-needed vigour to their side, attacking from the right.
Chhattisgarh had some luck as well in their favour with Delhi custodian Vikrant Sharma pulling his groin in the 55th minute as he was replaced by Pronoy Roy in the 60th minute. In between, Sharma saved a brilliant attempt by Subir Maji.
Minutes after the substitution, Chhattisgarh pulled one back with Siddique converting a fine attempt from his solo run from the right. Roy charged out with the ball kissing his hand to find the back of the net in the 65th minute.
Charged up, Chhattisgarh went for the kill and found the equaliser in the form of an own goal by Amjad Ali Khan 15 minutes later.
In the 80th minute, Siddique attempted a header from a corner kick but to Chhattisgarh's surprise, the ball took a deflection from Khan to find the net.
Locked 2-2, both teams failed to score during the regulation time as the match progressed into 30 minutes of extra-time.
Chhattisgarh squandered a superb chance in the first-half of extra time when Wasim Raja's shot missed the target as the match went into the shootout.
In the shootout, Chhattisgarh had a disastrous start as their first two attempts went in vain. Raja's shot was saved by Delhi goalkeeper Roy while their second attempt by Maji went wayward.
Delhi scored through Monu Chowdhury, Vikas Rawat, Bhuvan Chandra Joshi before Mashangva handed the win with his decider in the fifth attempt.
Delhi missed their second attempt when Ashish Pandey's shot was saved by Chhattisgarh custodian Dey.
Having missed their first two tries, Chhattisgarh scored from the spot through Harshvardhan Shende, Siddique and Dey but that could not stop Delhi from entering last-eight.