The quarter finals were played last weekend. FC Inter beat TamU 5-3 on penalties, FC Honka beat FF Jaro 2-1, TPS, who won 3-2, avoided a Haka comeback after taking a comfortable 3-0 lead and FC Lahti went through against HJK as Tuomas Haapala scored an own goal in the 87th minute. In the semifinals FC Inter will play FC Honka while TPS are going to take on FC Lahti. The games are going to take place in Tali, an indoor football hall in Helsinki.
And that’s the problem. I mean, they already played the quarter finals in Tali. After the group stage, all games take place in Helsinki. Why? Liigacup is widely considered to be a set of pre-season friendlies and it is unlikely that teams from other cities should attract good crowds in Helsinki. Furthermore, I cannot understand why the teams should be happy with it. Reaching the knockout stages should be a sign of success, but I believe the likes of RoPS are quite happy they did not make it into the quarter finals since it would mean a 16-hour drive each time they have to go there and back.
There is just no sense to it. The team doing better in group stage should be the home team in the knockout stages. Not everything is about Helsinki. Besides, why should they play indoors as it is getting warmer all the time?
Anyway, TPS and FC Honka are favorites in my book but then again, both Inter and Lahti might cause surprises. After all, they both came out on top against Veikkausliiga title candidates in the semi finals. Even if I am being objective, I think the best option would be having the Turku derby as the final.
It would probably attract attention from the media and supporters. Besides, the teams would have to take the final seriously. The Liigacup title has usually been considered insignificant, but TPS and Inter would not want to lose a final to their local rivals. Other than that, if the Turku teams played in the final, someone would probably realize that playing the knockout stages in Helsinki is unreasonable.