Virtus.pro to ELEAGUE semis over NiP
Virtus.pro have won the fourth quarter-final of ELEAGUE Season 1 over NiP 2-0 (16-8 on Dust2 and 16-9 on Cobblestone) and advance to next weekend's semifinals.
The fourth and final quarter-final of ELEAGUE Season 1 was an "El Classico" between Virtus.pro and Ninjas in Pyjamas, teams currently ranked #5 and #6 in the world, and the first map of the series took place on NiP's pick of Dust2.
A series of picks while defending the A site from Adam "friberg" Friberg and Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi on the first pistolround seemed to seal the round for NiP but Filip "NEO" Kubski suddenly came up Long and managed to win a one-versus-four to give VP the round.
NEO built upon his strong early performance on the first gunround, picking up three AK47 kills to help the Polish team cement an early 4-0 lead (which grew to 5-0 after an anti-eco round). NiP then retaliated by putting a round on the board on the sixth round thanks to an AWP triple from pyth and Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund then picking up two kills on the retake.
NEO had a dominant performance on Dust2
GeT_RiGhT kept it interesting in the next round as well as the Swedish star picked up a quad kill for his team while defending the B site from closet. Another triple kill from NEO on the ninth round reversed the tide and NEO even got a triple kill in the following round and VP rocketed up to a 8-2 lead.
Solid defending from Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg on the eleventh round gave NiP enough of a foothold to string together a couple of rounds, but Virtus.pro still managed to close out the first half with a 9-6 lead. NiP again look formidable on the second pistolround but then it was Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski's turn to get a crucial triple kill with the USP, including a tense one-versus-one against pyth with low HP.
Despite winning the second pistolround, Virtus.pro suddenly found themselves falling victim to the dreaded eco as f0rest secured two TEC-9 kills and even a third after picking up a dropped M4A1-S. NiP secured this round and the next but were then themselves eco'd on a force buy on the nineteenth round as Virtus.pro rose to an 11-8 advantage.
This moment proved to be a crucial turning point in the game and with the Polish players firing on all cylinders, and none more so than NEO, Virtus.pro closed out the first map 16-8.
Snax was the lynchpin for Virtus.pro on Cobblestone
The first pistolround of Cobblestone seemed to further spell doom for the Ninjas as Snax quickly secured four USP kills to put the Poles up 1-0 on their CT side. The Swedes however bought up and it was the deadly duo of f0rest and GeT_RiGhT that picked up a number of UMP and Tec-9 kills to equalise the score and reset VP's economy.
NiP used this change of pace to charge ahead to a 6-1 score. Paweł "byali" Bieliński put his team back on the map on the eighth round by winning a one-versus-two on the B site while flanking from the back. Virtus.pro strung a few rounds together but the Ninjas remained ahead and the half ultimately finished 9-6 in the Swedish team's favour.
T-side aggression from Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas and his team on the second pistolround saw them clear out NiP and after anti-ecos, the score was equalised at 9-9. VP overwhelmed the Swedes on the B site on the first gunround and Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski won a one-versus-one against f0rest to see the Polish team move ahead with a 10-9 advantage.
NiP were simply unable to secure a single round afterwards on their CT-side and the Polish plow looked utterly indomitable as Virtus.pro closed out the map 16-9 off the back of a no-holds-barred T-side on Cobblestone and thus eliminated NiP from ELEAGUE.
K - D
45 - 29
39 - 25
39 - 29
32 - 29
28 - 31
Ninjas in Pyjamas
K - D
35 - 37
34 - 38
27 - 36
27 - 35
20 - 37
ELEAGUE Season 1 concludes next weekend with semifinals and a grand final at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia as four teams will compete for the largest portion of the $1.4 million prize pool: a $390,000 reward for the first place team.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter