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Estonian Cup quarter-finals previews

Angelo PalmeriComment
Zahovaiko in Sillamäe's strip in an illustration by our Riccardo D'Agnese

Zahovaiko in Sillamäe's strip in an illustration by our Riccardo D'Agnese

Paide Linnameeskond vs. FC Infonet II
Paide start of season has been a failure: two points in 8 games, no wins. The only positive thing has a first name, nickname and last name: Vjatseslav ‘Slava’ Zahovaiko, the former international striker account for ¾ of Paide’s goal tally (6 of the total 8) and he is already very close to level Paide’s ‘top strikers’ of the past seasons. Under this point of view, Meelis Rooba has maintained the promises: the 15-netting striker is finally a reality. The problem is all the rest: a vanishing defence and a lack of focus in the final fifteen minutes have made Paide’s points tally look miserable leaving the Hearts at the bottom of table.
However, the cup tie seems the right chance to redeem themselves from a dull season’s start especially because the opposition is FC Infonet double team (Esiliiga, second tier).
If you think FC Infonet might pour players from the first team, then we need to get you familiar with the rules of the competition that apply to the internal affairs of the club upon choosing players for the cup tie.
Theoretically, FC Infonet could use first team players, however some corrections are present in the rules to avoid transplants from one squad to the other.

The general principle is that one player shall play only for one team (article 10 about eligible players for the cup can be found here).
However, in case of players transfers from one club to the other, exception is made for players who were transferred between the eight-of-finals and the quarter-finals. It’s our case as the likes of Mihhail Lavrentjev, Aleksandr Volodin and Nikolay Mashichev were all transferred at the end of past season.
Funnily enough, they caused FC Infonet first team elimination at penalties (4-2) in October when they played for Sillamäe Kalev.

Are they eligible to help FC Infonet double team?

Theoretically yes since it’s true they played in the cup for a first team, however it was another club’s first team. The same rule (10.2) forbids players of the same club to play for the double team which has reached the quarter-finals if they have already played for the first team.
Reason why the likes of Matvei Igonen, Vladimir Avilov, Jevgeni Gurtsjoglujants, Aleks Mones, Vladislav Ogorodnik and Jevgeni Harin will not take part to the game even though they have taken part to already several games of the double team this season in Esiliiga.

The question stays: will we see the three former Sillamäe players on the pitch?

It will rather be a matter of political convenience. FC Infonet head coach, Aleksandr Pushtov, has said clearly at start of season that they won’t pour  first team players into the double team for the cup and it seems that this is the decision the Estonian FA fancies the most. 

Reason why Paide’s task seems easier when we think that most of the Infonet’s notable players will not be available either for a legal or political reason.

Said that, the goalkeeper shall be Maksim Zelentsov who has played 5 of the 8 games in Esiliiga.
If a new signing is going to be used, that could be Swedish-Albanian striker Ermal Hajdari. However, the home produce, Eduard Golovljov, seems more likely to get a start since he played only for the double team during the current cup (2014-15) and has been an unused change for first team in the 16-0 whitewash of amateurs Pärnu JK Poseidon last July.

Edgars Butlers is suspended for Paide Linnameeskond (no appearances in Premium Liiga, only 135' with double tiem in 4th tier) and Vadim Aksjonov will miss for the same reason on FC Infonet II side (he is a regular in the team).

Chances of making to the next leg:
Paide LM 60%
FC Infonet II 40%


In this picture from 2014, only Markus Jürgenson (first from right) and Kevin Aloe (first from left) might make it into the XI. Brent Lepistu (second from left) is in the army and Karol Mets was sold to Norway (FC Flora Facebook)

In this picture from 2014, only Markus Jürgenson (first from right) and Kevin Aloe (first from left) might make it into the XI. Brent Lepistu (second from left) is in the army and Karol Mets was sold to Norway (FC Flora Facebook)

FC Flora vs. Sillamäe Kalev
It’s the biggest tie of the quarter-finals as the competition will lose one of the potential bidders. With both teams having secured a Europa League spot via the Premium Liiga, it’s more about adding pride and silverware (for Sillamäe would be their first if they were made to make it till the final in May and win it).
Norbert Hurt will have to compensate the efforts since Saturday it’s another showdown at the A.LeCoq Arena against FC Levadia and he knows he cannot lose ground with Kalju travelling as a train since the start of the season. A reasonable rotation is expected with probably a so-far disappointing Zakaria Beglarishvili making it back into the XI and Maksim Gussev giving a break to Irakly Logua. Same might happen with Andre’ Frolov taking back his old role in front of the defence in place of Karl-Erik Luigend.
No calculations for Sillamäe. They have an upcoming home tie with Tammeka and ousting Flora out of the cup to run for the final in next tie it’s additional prestige to an already great season (second place and second round of Europa League preliminaries reached). Sergei Frantsev will opt for the best possible with maybe Viktor Plotnikov, Tihhon Śiśov and Deniss Tjapkin back into the XI.

Chances of making to the next leg:
FC Flora 49%
Sillamäe Kalev 51%

Nõmme Kalju vs. Lokomotiv Jõhvi
Do not get mistaken by the fact that Lokomotiv Jõhvi got relegated from Premium Liiga last season. The Eastern Estonia club returned to be club’s feeder for Narva Trans however, they gave up to Esiliiga status and accepted to drop in II.Liiga (4th tier) in the East-North group where they are leading with 13 points after 5 matchdays ahead of JK Welco and Sergei Ratnikov’s new coaching job at Tallinn C.F.
There’s no way ‘Loko’ can represent a problem for Kalju unless the latters will complicate their lives. Sergei Terehhov will reasonably opt for some rotation in order to preserve his best men for the Premium Liiga home tie against Narva Trans. A chance to shine for underused players as Eino Puri, Tarmo Neemelo, Nicolas Galpin, Erkki Junolaine and/or the promising striker Andre Järva. There’s not even need to mention the cup route is Kalju’s chance to earn Europa League football since it will be enough to paraphrase Sergei Pareiko: this game can be won by playing with just one leg.

Chances of making to the next leg:

Nõmme Kalju 100%
Lokomotiv Jõhvi 0%


Erwin Stüf when he was wearing Kalev Tallinn jersey

Erwin Stüf when he was wearing Kalev Tallinn jersey

FCF Tallinna Ülikool vs. FC Flora II
All the rules above mentioned for Infonet double are valid also for Flora without any kind of ‘political convenience’ subject to be involved: the first team is busy in a tie against Sillamäe, therefore a lend of players will not happen.

The likes of German Ślein, Roman Sobtśenko, Kevin Aloe and Maksim Gussev would not anyway be able to help the second team as they’ve done during the start of season in Esiliiga.

Flora double will metaphorically ‘make go with’ their own squad, however they are tableleaders in Esiliiga (one point ahead of Kalev Tallinn after 8 games).

The FCF Tallinna Ülikool team from II.Liiga (4th tier) should not be underestimated. They lead their regional group (West-South) with 15 points along with Türi Ganvix and are among the favourites to be promoted to Esiliiga B.
Additionally, they can count on a former Premium Liiga football player as Ervin Stüf (Kalev Tallinn) and few Estonian futsal 2015 Champions from Augur Enemat.

The team is coached by the much appreciated youth coach, Martin Klasen, a regular at Nõmme United academy, the Mart Poom’s football school, which has grown several talents in recent years.

Klasen might pick some interesting players from the double team (their are one tier below) as Andrias Niklus (fast jolly, can play anywhere) and Timo Huttunen (impressive striker with 33 goals in 2014 including also some goals in futsal). It will not be a walk in the park for Flora double team.

FCF Tallinna Ülikool (literally, Tallinn University Football Club) count also on a foreign player, Finnish Rauno Esaul from Espoo.
The club has won silverware in 2013 when they rose the ‘Väike Karikas’ (the ‘small cup’ – national cup exclusively reserved to amateur teams from 4th,5th and 6th tier established since 2006) having no less than Mart Poom himself in the goal (video below)!

Chances of making to the next leg:

FC Flora II 60%
FCF Tallinna Ülikool 40%