By Gabriel Tan
Goals from Aleksandar Duric and Ahmad Latiff were enough to hand the Stags a healthy aggregate lead on Thursday, and already, they look likely to complete the job on Sunday and book their place in the final, where they will meet SAFFC.
Nonetheless, Loyola are refusing to give up on overcoming the deficit and having been exposed by Tampines on several occasions in the first leg, Santos has backed his side to learn from their mistakes and adapt in a bid to beat their opponents.
"Obviously the game [on Thursday] was difficult for us to swallow," he said. "We had a game plan in mind after having seen Tampines play a couple of times.
"I thought we had some chances early on in the game that we were unable to convert. Then, a few lapses allowed Tampines to score first.
"We hope to review the game on Saturday and make the adjustments for Sunday's game."
Sparks midfielder Andres Gonzales, who captained the side on Thursday, believes that their focus on the dangerous Duric ultimately cost them the game, as they failed to negate the influence of Tampines' other dangermen.
"We gave a lot of attention to Duric," the Philippines international explained. "That was where our preparations were focused on - how to control and stop him.
"But I think during the course of the game, we weren't able to close down the source of the balls for Duric. The number seven [Latiff] and the other midfielders were able to give diagonal balls to him as we were a bit slow in closing them down.
"We tried our best to control the game but it just didn't go as planned."
Loyola goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma echoed Gonzales' sentiments, and bravely took responsibilty for the Stags' first goal, when he was caught out of position and allowed Duric to calmly lob a shot into the back of the net.
"We did well for the first ten minutes but maybe we focused a bit too much on Duric," he added. "We forgot the other players that were coming at us from the middle and the wings.
"I must admit that the first goal was my lapse but these things happen. We will bounce back on Sunday."
Loyola defeated Geylang United 2-1 in the opening round, before seeing off Burmese side Kanbawza 5-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.