In the framework of the Premium Liiga opening gala (the competition will start tomorrow) Aivar Pohlak and guests from the clubs (Marko Kristal Alexandr Puśtov, Igor Prins, Norbert Hurt, Sergei Ratnikov, Valeri Bondarenko and many others), have drawn the quarter finals of the Estonian Cup 2013-14.
8 teams were left from last season (in order of tiers):
FC Levadia (Premium Liiga - first tier)
FC Infonet (Premiun Liiga)
Lokomotiv Jõhvi (Premium Liiga)
FC Kuressaare (Esiliiga - second tier)
FC Puuma (Esiliiga)
Tammeka II (Esiliiga) - participation withdrawn
HÜJK Emmaste (Esiliiga B - third tier)
FC Santos Tartu (Esilliga B)
Due to the known problems faced by Tammeka, the club withdrew the second team leaving the pool of the quarter-finals to 7 teams only.
The lucky ones to get a free ride to the semifinals were FC Levadia.
Under this point of view, the possibility of having the Estonian 2013 Champions in the May final at the A.LeCoq Arena is quite high.
If Levadia will win the trophy, the Europa League place will automatically go to the runners-up.
Everyone looks at streghtened FC Infonet as the other most probably candidate for the final.
Obviously, there is a chance that the next draw will make Levadia and Infonet meet earlier.
A possibility that would give an unhoped-for chance to the likes of two among the pairs Kuressare/Santos and Lokomotiv/Emmaste to reach the final game.
FC Infonet have not hidden themselves and in the pre-season interviews have clearly hinted at the possibility to play in Europe. They are aware that an historical passport to the European competition might come from the 2013-14 cup. Their strenghtening campaign has aimed at this target.
Certainly, FC Puuma will not represent a major obstacle. Puuma are a drop-zone club of the second tier who escaped relegation to third tier (Esiliiga B) thanks to the troubles of Tartu's clubs Tammeka II and SK 10 which withdrew from the second tier.
Kuressaare-Santos will be a balanced game as Kure have lost many of their Premium Liiga protagonists who fled to other clubs to stay on the same tier. Santos is a club in the ascendant with a lively academy and the amibition to rival Tammeka for the city supremacy. Winning a trophy (it would be the first club from Tartu to win one after regained indipendence) would be already a major leap forward.
Lokomotiv Jõhvi should have the upper hand over HÜJK Emmaste. However, do not underestimate the fact that they can count on someone with the likes of Norbert Hurt, FC Flora coach. Norbert is also a player at HÜJK Emmaste and he will certainly bring his know-how to face a Premium Liiga rival. Last year he helped the surprising third tier club to beat Tammeka in Tartu and Norbert scored also a goal.
HÜJK are 'cup specialists' a they won the 'Väike Karikas' in 2012 (a cup for lower leagues clubs).
Coach Nesterenko will have to give the right motivation to his lads to avoid any danger of not taking the game too seriously.
One way or the other, the Estonian Cup (official name: 'Evaldi Tipneri Karikas') will not be boring.
The chalkboard: chances of passing the leg
FC Infonet - FC Puuma 99% vs. 1%
FC Kuressaare - FC Santos 50% vs. 50%
Lokomotiv Jõhvi - HÜJK Emmaste 55% vs 45%
You can relive the draw thanks to our exclusive video.