The Loyola Meralco Sparks will continue their Singapore Cup journey this October, as the semifinal fixtures for the tournament have been set.
The Sparks will battle Tampines Rovers FC, the defending champion of Singapore’s top S.League, in the two-legged semifinals on October 4 at the Clementi Stadium and October 7 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Loyola barged into the semis after defeating Singaporean club Geylang United FC, 2-1, in the preliminary round last May and Myanmar club Kanbawza FC on 5-3 aggregate in the quarterfinals last July.
The Sparks will face an even more daunting task in the semis against Tampines, which is led by Singapore’s naturalized star striker Aleksandar Duric. The squad has won the Singapore Cup title three times – in 2002, 2004 and 2006.
Loyola will once again be spearheaded by Philippine football stars Phil and James Younghusband, as well as fellow national team members such as Anto Gonzales and Ref Cuaresma, among others.
Aside from S.League teams, the 2012 Singapore Cup also featured foreign clubs from Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar.
The Sparks are the only remaining football club from outside Singapore that remains in contention. The other semifinal match features S.League squads Singapore Armed Forces FC and Gombak United FC.
Loyola is the first Philippine squad to join and reach the semifinals of an international club competition.
Established in 1998, the annual Singapore Cup invites top football squads abroad, mostly from Southeast Asia, to compete in the knockout tournament.