Just when it seemed that a young Air India side had found the means of stalling Mohun Bagan, Okolie Odafa made the difference. The costliest player of the I-League was at his deadliest best in the six-yard box to score two beautiful goals and help Mohun Bagan win 3-1 after being held 1-1 till the 80th minute.
"You have to accept that he is a class player," said Air India coach Santosh Kashyap later.
"It was his individual brilliance that made the difference," said Kashyap.
Till Odafa's goal put Mohun Bagan ahead in the 42nd minute, the hosts were under considerable pressure from both Air India and their inability to convert opportunities off promising buildups.
Miscalculations Gouranga Dutta was gifted acres of space by Air India and the wide right midfielder ran the entire length of the flank, only to misdirect his crosses to the Air India goalmouth.
Jose Barreto, true to his word, started in the midfield with Ashim Biswas partnering Odafa. But with Air India's Japanese recruit Takyuki Omi relentless in his pursuit of midfield dominance, orchestrating attacks proved difficult for Barreto.
Odafa's goal nevertheless lifted some tension from the camp. NP Pradeep's free-kick was deflected by the Air India backline but Hudson Lima - playing in the wide left midfield - centred it back for Odafa who evaded Rahul Bheke's challenge to make it 1-0.
But it was just one conversion out of quite a few chances that came Mohun Bagan's way during the match.