The Loyola Meralco Sparks may have settled for a 2-2 draw against Myanmar club Kanbawza FC Sunday night, but it was still enough for the United Football League squad to book a semifinals ticket in the 2012 Singapore Cup at the Jelan Besar Stadium.
The Sparks won the two-legged quarterfinals on an aggregate score of 5-3 after notching a 3-1 victory in the first leg last Thursday.
Team captain James Younghusband scored a goal at the 25th minute before midfielder Jake Morallo hit the back of the net at the 37th minute to give the Sparks a comfortable 2-0 lead at halftime.
But Kanbawza clawed back in the match, as Samuel Hanson sank a goal at the 60th minute.
Loyola star striker Phil Younghusband then subbed out because of an injury at the 64th minute, enhancing Kanbawza’s chances.
But the Myanmar side had a difficult time attacking the Loyola’s defense, with midfielder Anto Gonzales disrupting Kanbawza attacks in the midfield. But Kanbawza finally buried another goal at the 93rd minute to force a draw, which was not enough to keep them from elimination.
The Sparks will face defending S.League champion Tampines Rovers FC led by Singapore football star Aleksandar Duric in the semis.
The victory marks a historic feat for Loyola, which became the first Philippine club to join and reach the semifinals of the annual Singapore Cup, which features S.League squads and foreign teams.