In the last eight of the 2016 Kazakhstan Cup season, the big guns Kairat and Astana were convincing enough to beat their opponents while Atyrau were the only host side to advance to the semis.
Cup holders Kairat Almaty took command from the off to get a comfortable 2-0 advantage at Zhetysu Taldykorgan which was enough to secure a win, their fifth in a row.
"We made the difference in the first 10 minutes and could have scored more. Then we gave up an initiative, thinking about how to hold on as the result is key in such games," said Kairat coach Kakhaber Tskhadadze.
Inside the opening stages, Stanislav Lunin broke the deadlock finishing with aplomb after Gerard Gohou's backheel assist and Zhetysu defender Marko Djalović scored an own goal.
The hosts haven't fielded their strongest starting XI with the next league encounter against Ordabasy Shymkent in mind, so Kairat found it easier to dominate proceedings and keep Almas Kulshinbayev's men off the board.
Astana provide a Petropavlovsk showdown
Djordje Despotović claimed a brace for FC Astana in a game that saw Kazakhstan champions defeat the second-tier side Kyzyl-Zhar SK 3-2 in Petropavlovsk, North Kazakhstan.
Striking in the 33rd and 65th minute, Despotović gave the mighty visitors a two-goal lead but Andrey Burtsev pull one back with his great solo to reduce the arrears on 69 minutes.
However, just four minutes later Astana restored the margin via Askhat Tagybergen who finished clinically after Alexey Schyotkin set him up for the goal.
It was a festive atmosphere at the Karasay Stadium and Kyzyl-Zhar were able to add to it with 10 minutes to go. Boško Stupić tapped in a cross to make things a little bit harder for Astana and there's nothing more to it.
Irtysh escape with the victory
Irtysh Pavlodar snatched a 2-1 win over Okzhetpes Kokshetau in an even game at the Astana Arena to clinch their first semi-finals berth since 2013.
"We missed some chances but I am satisfied with our performance because the players tried hard, were compact and organised. I am happy we reached the semis," noted Irtysh manager Dimitar Dimitrov.
Roman Murtazayev failed to convert a sixth-minute penalty for the visiting team but Carlos Fonseca rectified it, slotting in a left-wing cross four minutes before the break.
Okzhetpes, however, found an equaliser as Daniil Chertov managed to deliver a thunderous effort after a Risto Ristović's corner kick in the 49th minute.
But it was their last success, with Pavlodar attacker Djiby Fall coming off the bench on 67 minutes to head in what proved to be a match-winning goal five minutes later. As a result, Okzhetpes lost four outings from their last six.
Atyrau prevail in the penalty drama
Rinat Abdulin scored a header against his former club FC Atyrau in the first added minute of the dramatic game to take it into extra-time only for his Ordabasy Shymkent lose on penalties after two sides were deadlocked at 1-1.
A tense clash in Atyrau went goalless until 71st minute when Volodymyr Arzhanov opened the scoring with a superbly-taken shot from the edge of the box.
Though the Oilers then failed to hold on as well as to retake the lead in extra-time, they sealed their progression via post-match shoot-out to extend their good run under Yuri Konkov.
The hosts avoided any mistakes from the spot while Ordabasy's Daurenbek Tazhimbetov hit the woodwork before his teammate Gafurzhan Suyumbayev saw his attempt saved by Atyray goalkeeper Zhasur Narzikulov.
It is worth noting that FC Atyrau made their way to the last four round in the domestic Cup for the first time since 2009, the season when they have won the competition to clinch their first and only trophy in their history.
Now, the tournament takes a long break to resume in fall when semifinal matches will be played on a home-and-away basis on September 21 and November 6. The two-legged ties will be determined later by the draw.
2016 Kazakhstan Cup
Zhetysu Taldykorgan v Kairat Almaty 0-2 (0-2)
Goals: 0-1 Lunin (4), 0-2 Djalović (14 – OG).
Kyzyl-Zhar SK v FC Astana 2-3 (0-1)
Goals: 0-1 Despotović (33), 0-2 Despotović (65), 1-2 Burtsev (69), 1-3 Tagybergen (73), 2-3 Stupić (80).
FC Atyrau v Ordabasy Shymkent 1-1 a.e.t. (0-0, 1-1, 0-0), PSO 4-1
Goals: 1-0 Arzhanov (71), 1-1 Abdulin (90).
Okzhetpes Kokshetau v Irtysh Pavlodar 1-2 (0-1)
Goals: 0-1 Fonseca (41), 1-1 Chertov (49), 1-2 Fall (72).
PM: Murtazayev (6 – wide).