Kolkata: Subair Muritala scored a double to help Mohun Bagan blank Air India 2-0 in their Round 24 return-leg I-League fixture at Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday.
It was a relief of sorts for the struggling Mohun Bagan who registered their first win after five matches with the last one coming against Viva Kerala on March 5.
After a first-half stalemate that saw both the teams struggling to give the finishing touches, Mohun Bagan turned it around in the second half.
Muritala Ali, aided by a sparkling Edeh Chidi, scored the brace in the 66th and 81st minutes to take Bagan to the sixth spot with 30 points after 23 matches.
Air India, who had two wins and one draw including an upset victory over leaders Salgaocar in their last three matches, remained in the relegation zone with 21 points after 24 matches.
Bagan started in an attacking fashion, showing some sense of urgency but slowly they lost grip as the two sides were goalless at half time.
Chidi, who played the match despite some personal problems, had all the attacking moves but Muritala Ali was unimpressive in the first-half and failed to utilise the chances.
Bagan got plenty of corners and freekicks in the first half but could not utilise any of these.
Air India also gave Bagan few scares but goalkeeper Shilton Paul averted any danger for the home side. Three minutes after the interval, Chidi was brought down on the edge of the box for a freekick in favour of Mohun Bagan but the Nigerian forward fired it straight to the wall.
With less than half an hour remaining in the match, Bagan`s woes ended when Muritala Ali, coming from a lackluster first period, brilliantly latched on a Chidi pass to give them the lead.
Chidi got the better of two Air India defenders and gave a square pass from the right to Muritala who made no mistake this time to slot home without any fuss.
Muritala scored his second from another move initiated by Chidi who crossed the ball from right flank to Snehashis Chakraborty as Muritala gave the finishing touch, for Bagan`s second goal.
Bagan almost got their third when substitute Ishfaq Ahmed had a one to one situation in the dying moments but he squandered it to settle for a 2-0 scoreline.