The digitised number eight on the fourth officials’ board, signalling extra time at the end of the second half, was enthusiastically cheered by the audience. For Mumbai City FC fans, it was a bonus period, as the home team took to the field at the DY Patil Stadium for the last time this season.
But for the players, led by head coach Peter Reid, the length of the flashing red number provided extra nervous minutes. After all, Mumbai were defending something they had not achieved since their second match in the ISL: a second goal.
And so it happened that the hosts had one final hurrah at their home stadium at the expense of an Atletico de Kolkata side that was looking for a win to qualify for the knockout stages.
The 2-1 win did little to lift the victors’ hopes for qualification, yet it did make for a well-deserved win.
Such was the quality of the performance of the side on the night, that of all people, notoriously out-of-form midfielder Lalrindika Ralte put the Mumbai team ahead in the 40th minute.
The singular strike was enough to lift the confidence in the 22-year-old. So much so that once Nicolas Anelka was substituted for a groin injury, the youngster was entrusted with the set pieces, one of which set Manual Friedrich for the winner in the 76th minute.
Mumbai now sit in seventh spot in the eight-team table. Yet more consequential to the league standings was the loss for Kolkata, who will need a win, at home, against FC Goa to ascertain their place in the last four.