As the champions and runners-up of this year's Malaysia Super League respectively, as well as the two teams that contested the FA Cup final back in September, Johor Darul Ta'zim and Terengganu were always going to expected to go far in the Malaysia Cup when the tournament started at the end of October.
Thus far, it has been par for the course. Perhaps, in the case of the latter, expectations have even been exceeded.
So even with the second legs of the quarterfinals still to be played, does it mean that a JDT vs. Terengganu decider can already be expected on Nov. 26?
Of course, things are never that straightforward in football, especially in cup competitions -- and even more so in a tournament with such a rich and storied history as the 101-year-old Malaysia Cup.
Just last year, despite being the overwhelming favourites, JDT were upset 3-0 in the final as Kuala Lumpur City claimed a fourth title in stunning fashion.
The fact of the matter remains that, based on current form, it is hard to look past both the two frontrunners as the likeliest to march on into the semifinals by the end of this week -- and then on to the final.
As champions of the MSL in the past nine years, JDT remain the odds-on favourites by a country mile.
It is hardly a surprise that foreign duo Bergson da Silva and Fernando Forestieri have been leading the way for the Southern Tigers with two goals apiece, but the supporting cast in the form of Akhyar Rashid, Syafiq Ahmad and Safawi Rasid have also taken turns in contributing.
In possession of a 3-0 aggregate lead over second-tier Kelantan from Saturday's quarterfinal first leg, advancing into the last four should be a mere formality for JDT.
Then, there is Terengganu, whose brilliant late-season form in the MSL -- which saw them go from mid-table mediocrity to a runners-up finish -- has carried over into the Malaysia Cup and enhanced their reputation as contenders.
The Turtles have now won 12 of their past 13 outings in all competition, boasting a fearsome attack that has already banged in ten goals in just three Malaysia Cup matches.
Terengganu did however only manage a 1-0 win over defending champions KL City in their opening encounter of the quarters on Sunday, but they will fancy their chances of getting the job done -- especially with home advantage in the second leg.
It is easy to see why JDT and Terengganu are fancied to go all the way to the final.
But if not them, then who?
The fact that Terengganu hold the slenderest of advantages in their last-eight tie means KL City are still in with a legitimate chance.
The City Boys have already proven to be well versed in the art of cup competition, both in their Malaysia Cup success last term as well as their run to the AFC Cup final this year.
As the most-successful team in Malaysia Cup history with 33 titles, the Red Giants cannot be underestimated and are also in form with six victories from their last seven games following another disappointing league campaign which saw them finish 5th on the table.
Following an excellent third-place finish in the MSL and with a squad littered with Malaysia internationals such as Baddrol Bakhtiar and Khairul Fahmi, as well as Indonesia livewire Saddil Ramdani, the Rhinos will be looking to make the most of Saturday's 1-0 win over Kuching City and seal their semifinal berth this Friday.
For now, it is indeed JDT and Terengganu that look the likeliest the grace the final come the end of the month, but there are plenty of viable competitors eager and ready to upset the balance.
It is a cup competition -- and it is the Malaysia Cup.
Expect the unexpected.