A resilient Loyola Meralco side fell short of realizing a return trip to the Singapore Cup semifinals as it settled for a 3-3 draw against Tanjong Pagar United on Sunday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Aching to bounce back from a 2-1 loss in the first leg of the quarterfinals, the Sparks played with a sense of urgency, but failed to escape some questionable costly card bookings that left them undermanned most of the game and ultimately lost on aggregate.
The Filipino booters’ ouster denied the chance of an all-Filipino clash in the semis of the annual invitational participated by top Singapore League sides and some Southeast Asian neighbors.
The Sparks could’ve faced United Football League rival Global FC, which beat DPMM, 5-4, on aggregate in their own quarterfinal tie.
Park Min Ho drew first blood 35 minutes into the game, but the Korean received a second yellow card that led to an ejection for tackling Monsef Zerka late in the first half.
Trailing, 2-3, in the second half, the Sparks’ woes were compounded when Jang Jo Won, who scored the team’s second goal, wound up as the second casualty when he was sent off for lunging on a defender, leaving the Sparks with only nine men four minutes before stoppage.
Chad Gould scored the equalizing header off a free kick from Phil Younghusband in the 90th minute that, however, went for naught.