Astralis beat Liquid for a semi-final spot in Dallas
Astralis secured a confident 2-0 victory over Liquid (16-10 Nuke, 16-7 Inferno) to continue their undefeated streak at the ESL Pro League Finals and earn a semi-final spot.
Nuke started with Astralis losing the T-side pistol, but promptly striking back in the force buy, with Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen doing the heavy lifting, securing three kills. The Danes were 3-1 up before Liquid got their first rifle round win as Keith "NAF" Markovic took down four Astralis members, two on the A site hold and two rotating into B (3-2).
Astralis fired straight back, not allowing Liquid to tie any rounds together, and with that went up 7-2. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski then saved his side with a 3K spraydown, rotating into ramp, but Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and co. struck right back again, resetting Nick "nitr0" Cannella's team. A similar story continued for the rest of the half, with Liquid recovering a bit at the end to save the half and make it 9-6.
With an A site explosion working out perfectly, and the follow-up rounds dealt with, Liquid soon tied the score at 9-9. However, as soon as the rifles rolled in, it was all about Astralis, the Danes locked down the approaches towards the sites, Nicolai "device" Reedtz rotated around and picked up AWP kills while the North American side struggled to do much. Their one rifle round win was instantly returned upon by the Danes, who proceeded to close out their map pick 16-10.
Liquid grabbed the T pistol on Inferno thanks to a Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken ace only to hit a brick wall in the next round, losing the first pick to dupreeh and then getting shut out from B by the remainder of the force-buy. Winning the anti-ecos built Astralis' bank and saw them cruise up to a 9-2 lead.
A good round from Epitacio "TACO" de Melo, in which the Brazilian secured three kills and won the final 1v1, earned Liquid their third, but they once again couldn't follow up on it as Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth's sneaky play from sandbags combined with device's AWP to lock down B.
The Danes wrapped up the half with a massive 11-4 scoreline and tried to keep the pressure on Liquid with a mid rush tactic on their Terrorist pistol, but Twistzz's quick double stopped them in their tracks, giving Liquid yet another pistol round in the series. With that, Liquid were close to establishing an economic foothold, but after bringing the score to 12-7, couldn't hold the B site offensive and found themselves on pistols in the next.
With Liquid's force-buy failing and Astralis on 14 already, the North Americans were forced into back-to-back force buys, which gla1ve's men dealt with methodically. Astralis closed out the game shortly, making it 16-7 on Inferno and 2-0 for the series. With this result, Astralis advanced directly to the semi-finals of the tournament, while Liquid will have to go through mousesports to get to the same stage.
K - D
Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz
36 - 37
Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF
23 - 40
Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE
29 - 40
Epitacio 'TACO' de MeloTACO
22 - 38
Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0
21 - 38