The first match between the two teams was a nail-biter.
After facing the two favorites, NIP and Gambit, Liquid will be left regretting a missed opportunity to go 2-0 in the group, as the Russian side turned the match around spectacularly.
The team of Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov fell down early in all three maps — Inferno, Vertigo, and Mirage — but stayed strong and won the last two to claim the series 2-1.
Gambit has moved to the top of the rankings for the time being, but with only two rounds played, nothing in Group D has been settled.
During Gambit’s defensive half of Inferno, Jake “Stewie2K” Yip led the onslaught against Gambit’s economy. It took a while for Gambit to catch up, but Liquid’s site attacks were fast and punishing, and nafany’s troops were fighting to keep up.
An early 9-6 advantage for Liquid evaporated as CIS side Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov’s incredible triple hiding in an underpass gave them the all-important pistol. With the help of Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Keith “NAF” Markovic’s multi-kills, Liquid was able to stabilize from 11-11, allowing them to complete the map with a 16-12 victory. An early 9-6 advantage for Liquid evaporated as CIS side Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov’s incredible triple hiding in an underpass gave them the all-important pistol. With the help of Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Keith “NAF” Markovic’s multi-kills, Liquid was able to stabilize from 11-11, allowing them to complete the map with a 16-12 victory.
EliGE and Gabriel “FalleN” kill totals Toledo were in double digits in no time as Liquid went 7-2 up on Vertigo and appeared to be on track to close the map in two with a no-respect approach. Dmitry “sh1ro” Dmitry “sh1ro” Dmitry “sh1ro” D Sokolov’s two clutches gave Gambit a much-needed reprieve, with a 9-6 half-time score providing enough of a foundation for nafany’s squad to extend their undefeated run on Vertigo to 14 games. Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov labored throughout the game, but came alive in the final embers and assisted in the 19-16 overtime win.
As the game switched to Mirage, Liquid appeared undeterred by the close loss, dropping only three rounds since the rifles rolled out for a 9-6 halftime lead. The North American team increased their lead to 12-6 with a last-second frag on the pistol’s defuser, but Gambit did not flinch. The CIS squad’s full-buy defenses were airtight, as they linked 10 rounds together to accomplish the comeback and steal the map (16-12) and the series.
On the second day of play in Group D, four teams are locked at 1-1, with Gambit leading and TeamOne the only side yet to win. The ESL Pro League returns on Friday at 19:30 p.m. with a match between TeamOne and NIP.