By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Loyola booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday as a brace from Phil Younghusband and a Jang Jo-woong strike handed them a routine victory over their Malaysian opponents, who played over 70 minutes a man down following Ashmawi Yakin's early red card.
The result also saw them end a two-game winless streak after a loss and a draw to Kaya and Manila Nomads respectively in their domestic United Football League (UFL), and with their title hopes now over, Santos admitted the Singapore Cup could provide an alternative avenue for success.
"We've been hit by injuries and they have affected our league campaign," he said. "We've been struggling a bit recently.
"Morale was down after our recent results back home so it was good to have that back."
Loyola were impressive last year in their debut appearance in the Singapore Cup, reaching the semi-finals before falling to Singaporean giants Tampines Rovers.
And given they now know what to expect in Singapore football's premier cup competition, Santos sees no reason why they cannot go all the way, although he insists he will only be looking as far ahead as the next round.
"When we came to play in the Singapore Cup last year, we came for the experience," he explained.
"We have the experience now, we'll still take it a game at a time but of course we're always looking to bring home silverware. That is our goal but we'll take it a game at a time.
"Of course [we can go all the way]. I have confidence in the boys as long as we stay positive and work hard."
Although Santos admits Ashmawi's sending off helped his side's cause, he believes they were fully deserving of the victory.
"Of course it helped that they were a man down but before that, we were already showing good movement, created some chances and I think we deserved the first goal," he added.
"When they went a man down, it was a little bit easier just like in any game; it's a big advantage. All in all, we still did well before that.
"When we created the chance that led to the first goal [a Younghusband penalty] it was still 11 on 11. I didn't see it completely but I saw it was a foul by the last man and there's always a chance for a red card."
Loyola are next in action on Thursday when they take on Green Archers United in the league.
Image courtesy of FAS (Alfie Lee)