85 teams to participate in new Greek Cup
It isn’t just the Super League which is in the process of reconstruction. The Greek Cup, a competition won by PAOK in the past two seasons, will include a huge 85 teams and 130 matches in the upcoming campaign.
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In comparison, only 78 matches took place in the Greek Cup in the 2017/2018 season, with PAOK claiming the trophy after a 2:0 victory against AEK in Athens. However, this year, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) have decided to include 85 teams in the tournament and hold 130 games.
The reason for having so many participants and such a large amount of fixtures? Unlike previous seasons, a grand total of 53 amateur teams will enter the Greek Cup in the first stage of qualifying, clubs which are winners of their regional cups. Let’s take a closer look at the new competition format:
First qualifying round
Before the opening qualifying round begins, a draw will take place to see which amateur club receives a free pass to the second stage. The remaining 52 teams will then play against each other with the 26 winners progressing.
Second qualifying round
As a result of a lucky draw, five teams will be granted a direct passage to the third phase without a ball being kicked. The other 22 teams will compete in 11 matches and the winning clubs will qualify for the next round.
Third qualifying round
The 16 amateur clubs in this round will be joined by 16 from the Football League. Teams which win their ties will make the group stage.
This is the round where all Super League clubs join the action. Eight groups of four teams will be formed and the top two clubs of every group earn progression to the knockout phase.
Eight pairings will be formed after the usual draw process. Two legs (home and away) will be held.
Two legs (home and away) will decide which four clubs compete in the semi-finals.
The exact same format used for the Last 16 and quarter-finals will be used.
One single match will crown the champion. On Tuesday, it was revealed that the 2018/2019 Greek Cup final will be hosted by the Olympic Stadium in Athens for the second successive year and is scheduled for May 18, 2019.