Mumbai City FC always have options. Indian or foreigner, experienced or youthful, skilful or energetic, there’s an array of talent to choose from.

In sporting jargon, it’s called a good headache for the head coach who has to make the best possible choice for the team. In a competitive environment like the Indian Super League (ISL) there is often no room for emotions. For the players, the margin for error is minimal. Perform or perish. 

In a squad like Mumbai City FC, every player is top quality in almost all departments but not everyone can find a place in the team. So, the ones who don't, have to keep knocking on the door and make the most of any chance that comes your way. But when the team is doing well, these chances don’t come along too often. So, for those waiting in the wings, the wait can get unnerving at times. 

At Mumbai City FC, the talented duo of Vikram Partap Singh and Gurkirat Singh have often been on the wrong side of the coach’s selection. Thanks largely to the relentless excellence of Lalianzuala Chhangte and Biping Singh, the two earmarked by many as the future of Indian attack have struggled to get a look in. 

Their endeavours on a Mumbai City FC matchday have at times been restricted to hollow warm-ups during the game only to return to the bench. For Vikram Partap Singh, chances have been more frequent with the frequency rising this season. 

The forward had made four starts this season for the Islanders before the Chennaiyin FC match but still only averaged 37.7 minutes of action per game. For Gurkirat, the situation was even more difficult with him being afforded just two substitute appearances amounting to a total of 26 minutes this season. 

But multiple suspensions and injuries during a busy period, handed the duo, the opportunity they had been waiting for. For Vikram, it came in the form of his fifth start and for Gurkirat, in the form of a 27-minute substitute appearance in his favoured centre-forward position thanks to a knock to first-choice striker Jorge Perreyra Diaz. 

Often used on the right flank in place of Chhangte as a substitute, Vikram was assigned duties on the left flank and he excelled in the role. The forward was lively often leaving the defender guessing. His pace caused problems for Chennaiyin FC on that side and they were pegged back down that side. He stayed wide and high pinning the Chennaiyin FC right-back. He had the highest average position of all Mumbai City FC players on the pitch. 

He created two chances for his team and won a penalty in the first half. He had the third most touches in the Chennaiyin FC penalty area after Diaz and Chhangte. 

Gurkirat on the other hand wrecked complete havoc in the Chennaiyin FC defence with his sharp movements. He constantly dragged centre-backs out from their defensive lines and attacked the spaces between defenders. He won the second penalty for Mumbai City FC which his friend Vikram Partap Singh converted to give them a 2-0 lead before he showed his skills to dazzle past a number of Chennaiyin FC defenders to score the team’s third goal and seal the win. Gurkirat also linked up the play well and had a 100% passing accuracy during the match. 

“We wanted to give the opportunity to Gurkirat (Singh) and he took it. For me his performance was excellent but he needs to keep working hard and ask me more questions to give him more opportunity like everyone else,” head coach Peter Kratky said after the game. 

These performances don’t guarantee Vikram Partap Singh and Gurkirat Singh a place in the starting XI in their next match, but they would certainly be a bigger part of his thinking. The two stepping up when the team needed the most would go a long way in Kratky trusting them a lot more which should translate to more minutes and starts.

After spending many a minute on the bench, the sun shined on Vikram and Gurkirat and much to their credit they made hay when the sun was shining. Patience has paid off for the two forwards from Punjab and the time may be ripe for the two to stamp their authority in Mumbai.