The airmen, languishing in the bottom half of the league table, went on the attack from the beginning and took the lead through Manjit Singh at the fag end of the opening half when he took control of a throw-in and found the mark.
Stung by the reverse, Bagan fought back strongly in the second half and restored parity through Brazilian striker Jose Barretto who netted in the 58th minute off a fine cross from the right sent by D Dhanarajan.
AI, who took their points tally to 9, had gone into the match with their confidence high following a shock 4-0 victory over Goa's [ Images ] defending champions Dempo SC.
Bagan, who took their tally to 18, also had their tails up in the lead-up after winning their third straight encounter against India Arrows (formerly AIFF XI) 2-0 in the previous round.
Late goal helps AIFF XI edge Viva Kerala [ Images ]
I-League debutants AIFF XI edged out a fighting Viva Kerala with the help of a late solitary goal at the Nehru Municipal stadium in Kannur on Sunday.
Medio Subodh Kumar scored the all-important goal in the 86th minute of the match to fetch his side full points and their first win away from home.
AIFF XI, due to be christened Indian Arrows from February 1, scored through Subodh, who converted a free-kick arising out of a foul on him, which beat Viva custodian Shemin Lal Meloli hands down. However, Viva were unlucky not to have found the target despite having fairly good opportunities to score.