The home team summoned its marquee player Nicolas Anelka from the technical area a quarter of an hour from the final whistle, but by then the team was 2-0 up against table topper FC Goa in the Indian Super League match at the D.Y. Patil Stadium on Sunday.
The sound of whistles resonated from the stands when Anelka appeared, but the decibel level had generally been high.
It reached a crescendo when star striker Sunil Chetri made no mistake from the spot about 12 minutes from half-time and Frenchman Fred Piquionne headed home the second goal three minutes into the second half.
After the 2-0 win against Delhi Dynamos in the second home match, Mumbai City FC clearly seemed to have found its feet.
A good crowd of around 23,000 had the opportunity to watch Chetri leading the show with fine support from Haitian Sony Norde, Gabriel Fernandes and Piquionne.
Had it not been for some calm and courageous work under the bar by Laxmikant Kattimani, the Zico-coached Goan team would have lost by a much bigger margin.
Clearly, Chetri playing upfront with Piquionne (he replaced Subash Singh) was the playmaker.
The left wing played its part with the Indian and Haitian demanding attention with some smart play. But, it was a volleyed centre from Gabriel Fernandes in the 33rd minute that saw Piquionne being brought down by Raju Gaekwad inside the penalty area.
The referee pointed to the spot and Chetri beat Kattimani, who nearly pulled off a fine save by diving low to his right.
Earlier, Kattimani had made an acrobatic save to keep away a Chetri attempt after he had taken control of a superb throw-in from Ashutosh Mehta.
The Goa goalkeeper then won a one-on-one with Piquionne in the penalty area.
Even the home team’s India goalkeeper Subrata Paul had some work to do in both halves. While Paul escaped seeing a poorly targeted shot from Victorino Fernandes, Kattimani was beaten on the left when Piquionne managed to keep a defender away and connect the cross from Spanish midfielder Juan Aguilera in the 48th minute.
Thereafter the technical table was kept busy with many substitutions; Frantz Bertin, Selim Benachour and Anelka coming in for Piquionne, Aguilera and Norde. FC Goa too made three substitutions after conceding the two goals.
With its second win, Mumbai City FC has climbed to the sixth position.
Earlier, the ground staff did some excellent work to keep the pitch in superb condition after a sharp spell of rain an hour before the start.
THE RESULT: Mumbai City FC 2 (Chetri 33, Piquionne 48) bt FC Goa 0.