Delhi registered their second consecutive win with a 2-0 victory of Uttar Pradesh to inch closer to pre-quarterfinals of the 64th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at Khardah Stadium in Kolkata.
Delhi now lead Cluster V with six points from two matches and require a draw against Madhya Pradesh on July 25 to seal a last 16 berth.
In another match of the same cluster, Madhya Pradesh defeated Arunachal Pradesh 3-1 at Howrah Stadium to score their first win.
In a Cluster VI match, Chhattisgarh rode on a Wasim Raza strike in the 31st minute to beat Sikkim at Mohun Bagan ground here.
Both Delhi and UP had wins against their respective opponents in their first matches and they began on a watchful note and the first half remained goalless.
Tuishim Mashangva gave Delhi the lead in the 60th minute while Bhuvan Joshi converted a penalty in the 78th minute to shatter UP's hopes.
Javed Manihar struck twice in the 82nd and 90th minutes while Neelesh Pilai scored the first goal in the 61st minute to help Madhya Pradesh record their first win.
Rallo Raj Kumar reduced the margin for Arunachal Pradesh with a 85th minute goal.
Saumik Dey doubtful
With East Bengal captain Saumik Dey down with fever, Bengal suffered a setback as they began their preparations for the final leg of the Santosh Trophy with a five-day conditioning camp at Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
The 29-time champions Bengal also have an injury problem to boot as striker Tarif Ahmed is nursing a broken nose. The chances of availability of Dey appears slim as the key defender had not taken part in the camp for the last one week.
Ahmed, on the other hand, is not completely ruled out even though doctors have advised the striker to stay off heading the ball.
But coach Shabbir Ali is still hopeful that the duo will get fit in time. "We cannot rule them out immediately. Ahmed is there in the camp, we will see how they progress in the upcoming days," Ali said after the team's practice.
Asked how the pruned 26-member squad was shaping up, Ali said, "The boys are doing quite well. We have two practice matches coming up -- against Tollygunge Agragami and Police Club -- and we will see how they perform on the field together."
Bengal will pick their 20-member squad on July 27, the coach said.
Seeded directly into the quarter-finals that will be in a league format with two groups of four teams each, Bengal will kick off their campaign on July 30.
Bengal have been clubbed with Tamil Nadu and two teams who will be identified from the ongoing cluster stage matches.