'I won’t deny the fact that we were lucky' - Loyola Meralco's Vincent Santos after his side's qualification for the Singapore Cup semi-final

Despite his team’s elimination, Kanbawza coach P.N. Sivaji was satisfied that his team gave their all, while Santos admitted luck had played a part
The former Singapore coach was confident that the experience of playing in the Singapore Cup would give his team a boost when they return to Myanmar for their own league campaign.

“I am humbled by the way they have really gone and taken this game by the horns," said PN Sivaji.

"A result like this does not enable us to qualify of course, but from another point of view, it puts the team in a good frame of mind and ready to go next weekend.”

He acknowledged the fact that conceding first made their task even tougher: “If you ask me to summarize the game, it’s one where we tried from the offset to go for goal, which we did, but we couldn’t convert the chances; we lacked the finesse [to score]. Then, two individual errors in defending meant that we conceded.

“At halftime, 5-1 was the aggregate, so we said, 'Just forget about the first half, and win the second half', and we won it. There are a lot of positives I can try and build on for the remaining part of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win! But when you cannot win, you look at other things.”

He also pointed out that his team had played the first leg with only nine men for thirty minutes after two players were sent off, and that having four players on the bench made it difficult for them to change things as well.

After seeing his side throw away a two-goal lead, it was hard to blame Loyola coach Vincent Santos for appearing a little subdued at the post-match press conference.

“We started really well and it was good that we got the goals in the first half to give us a cushion in the second half," said Santos.

"It’s just that you don’t like to concede this kind of goals when you are in command; I thought that we could have come away with a win. But of course, I am still happy with the result.”

The assistant coach said they could bring in new players before the Tampines game, in addition to working on their fitness levels even more.

“We are in the middle of a break for our league now," he added.

"Hopefully we can beef up before October and do some key transfers before we come back again. We were left with just two outfield players in today’s match, so we have to work on the roster.”

He admitted that they had their fair share of luck, after seeing his opponents strike the woodwork twice, saying: “I won’t deny the fact that we were lucky; from the first game to the second game and to now, that has been brought up at the press conferences.  We are lucky right now, but we must be doing something right, if in the end we are winning… We will take the luck.”