Delhi strengthen chances to advance

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Chandigarh, Sep 23 (UNI) While hosts Punjab qualified for Group B quarter-final league yesterday, Delhi today strengthened their chances to advance to the next phase as they defeated Himachal Pradesh by 5-0 in Cluster VII of the 31st Sub Junior National Football Championship 2008 for Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy being played in Mahilpur.

It was Delhi's second triumph from as many matches and their last cluster encounter is against Bihar on September 25. Bihar have one win and one defeat from two matches they have played so far.

Punjab had blanked Puddicherry by 23-0 and on Monday in Cluster IV, they thrashed them by a 14-0 margin. The third team in their cluster Jammu and Kashmir have played truant.

Uttrakhand gained a psychological advantage against Jharkhand by defeating them by 2-1 in Cluster V. They will again face each other on September 25 to decide the cluster winners for group B quarter-final league.

Delhi were propped up by striker Michael Chongthu who banged home three goals (17th, 56th, 78th minutes). Kishlay Sajwan (8th) and Supanya Devavrat (24th). Delhi had earlier prevailed over Gujarat by 1-0 on Sunday.

In the same cluster, Bihar obtained full points after defeating Gujarat by 2-1. All goals came in the second half after an unproductive first session.

Bihar forged ahead with a fine goal from Aftab Alam in the 58th minute. Gujarat restored parity through Neuclus Sellar in the 65th minute. Aftab Alam snatched the winner in the 86th minute.

It was Bihar's first victory after losing to Himachal Pradesh in their first outing. Gujarat suffered their second successive defeat.

Uttrakhand got the better of Jharkhand by 2-1 in a well-contested Cluster V encounter to gain full points. Striker Ashish Visht netted in the 15th and 44th minutes. Jharkhand reduced the margin by scoring a goal in the 57th minute through Durga Lorhra.

UNI XC PS JS1359

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