The Sparks coach suffered two dismissals in their 5-4 aggregate defeat to Tanjong Pagar in the second leg of the Singapore Cup quarter-finals, as counterpart Patrick Vallee fumed
Luck was not with Loyola Meralco Sparks as they crashed out of the RHB Singapore Cup against Tanjong Pagar, having ended the match with nine men in the second leg of the quarter-finals.
Despite being at a numerical disadvantage, the Philippines club put on a brave and gutsy performance to force a 3-3 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium as they lost 5-4 on aggregate.
It was not a surprise that Sparks coach Vincent Santos hit out at referee Sukhbir Singh for sending off his players, first Park Min Ho for a second bookable offence in the first half and then a straight red for Jang Jo Won after his challenge on Sazali Salleh in the closing stages of the match.
“The card definitely changed the game and the first yellow could have been a warning instead, but he still could have given him a last warning before showing the second yellow card," he said.
“In the first half there were fouls that was not meant to hurt [anyone]... over the course of the game, I feel it was horrible refereeing."
But the tough and physical display, which fell short of being ugly, was masterminded by Santos as he did not want to see his charges get bullied by their opponents.
“I am proud of how we fought despite going two men down but I am not happy with the results as we are out of the competition," he said.
“We needed to stay tough and from the first game we were soft and so I did not want them (Tanjong Pagar) to have easy balls or turns.”
One could sense the anger in Jaguars coach Patrick Vallee (right) when he made his way into the room for the post-match conference.
“I am very disappointed and upset with what I saw on the field and I have lost one player (Sazali, due to a broken fibula) for the rest of the season.. and it is not football [from Loyola]," the Frenchman fumed.
“If he [Santos] never saw the fault, I can show him my player's leg, he is in hospital now.
“Maybe he needed an excuse for losing the game and failing to qualify.”
Vallee then praised his players for meeting their objectives.
“We achieved what we had wanted: qualify for the semi-final and that is important," he said.
“They scored three but we scored three goals too. I am very proud of my players, we never panicked and we kept our calm and came back in the game.”