By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Just four days after their heartbreaking exit at the hands of Tampines Rovers in the semi-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup, Loyola nearly fell behind in the 16th minute after they conceded a penalty, although the crisis was averted after Nino Ochoterena saw his effort saved.
Eight minutes later, the Sparks capitalised on that close shave by taking the lead through centre-back Chad Gould, who converted on the rebound after his initial attempt came back off the crossbar.
On the stroke of halftime, Kim Chul-su's men doubled their tally in similar fashion when James Younghusband planted a header into the back of the net, after his brother Philip had nodded against the woodwork.
Despite dominating after the break, Loyola were unable to find a third to kill off the match and they were made to sweat late on when Laos pulled one back in the 84th minute through Lester Villanueva's looping header, although they ultimately held on for all three points.
In Thursday's other game, General Trias International moved top of Group A after a 2-0 win over Team Socceroo, although they have now played one game more than reigning United Football League champions Global, who are in action on Sunday.
Thursday's UFL Cup Results
General Trias International 2-0 Team Socceroo
Laos 1-2 Loyola Meralco Sparks