SINGAPORE—There was no shortage of confidence from the Loyola Meralco Sparks even after a 1-2 defeat to Singapore League side Tanjong Pagar in the opening leg of their Singapore Cup quarterfinal tie at Queenstown Stadium Thursday night.
The Sparks managed to avert a potential disaster after falling behind on two early goals, giving themselves a fighting chance to turn the tide in the second leg on Sunday at Jalan Besar Stadium.
James Younghusband scored a stunning goal five minutes before halftime and the Sparks held their ground against one of the finest sides in the S-League in the final half.
A step slower defensively, the Sparks, who were playing their first match since the UFL season ended last month, conceded the first goal six minutes into the match when an unmarked Monsef Zerka headed home a Kamel Ramdani free kick.
The Jaguars doubled the lead through Ismael Behnamed, who finished off a neat passing move with a tap-in in the 18th minute, silencing the Filipino crowd.
“It was very unfortunate to concede a goal in their first attempt as it dropped [our] confidence early,” said Sparks coach Vince Santos.