SK, AGO through to quarter-finals in Kiev
The Americas showdown between SK and Liquid began on Cache, the latter team's map pick, but it was the Brazilians who came out the brighter as they took the pistol round with a B execution on the back of a triple-kill from Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo.
Liquid responded in the third round with a CZ stack on B, which marked the beginning of a great run from the North Americans. Down 5-2, SK picked up the pace and ran over the Liquid defence in the rest of the half to go into the break with a narrow 8-7 lead.
The second half began with SK once again in control as the Brazilians won six rounds straight, bringing the scoreline to 14-7. It looked like SK had the game in the bag, but Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski rescued his team with a 1v2 clutch to give Liquid fans some hope.
The Americans started to put together a small run of rounds to pile the pressure on SK's players, who, however, remained calm and collected, bagging two rounds in a row to seal a hard-fought 16-12 success.
Next up was Train, where SK took the pistol round but once again could not make the most of it as they were caught off-guard in the third round while attempting to push the outer bombsite. Liquid took control of proceedings after that and strolled to a 7-2 lead, but SK fought back in the final stages of the half and prevented their opponents from running away with the game.
SK once again came out of the break the stronger side, taking the pistol round and the following anti-ecos to cut the gap to just two rounds. Surprisingly, Liquid were able to respond in the first gun round after overcoming a 2v5 situation thanks to a triple-kill from Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, who would stand out for the team throughout the half.
FalleN kept SK in the game with a series of multi-kill rounds, but he could not prevent Liquid from reaching map point at 15-12. Ricardo "boltz" Prass stepped up in the next round with a triple-kill to deny Liquid the map win, but it was in vain as the Americans would lock down the game in the 30th round.
Starting out on the CT side of Inferno, Liquid got out to a 7-2 lead after holding SK's players off any economic development. The Brazilians then finally figured out how to break through the North Americans' defence, bagging four rounds in a row, with a late resurgence from Liquid earning them a 9-6 half-time lead.
Jake "Stewie2K" Yip opened up the second half with a trio of kills to help SK pick up the pistol round in convincing fashion. The Brazilian team remained in the driving seat and brought the scoreline to 12-9, at which point Liquid called a tactical pause in a bid to halt their opponents' momentum.
After the short break, Liquid finally got a round on the board, but SK replied instantly and hit the 14-round mark. The North Americans refused to throw in the towel, however, and put together a small run of rounds after capitalising on a few uncharacteristic mistakes from SK.
The momentum was now clearly in Liquid's favour, but a double AWP kill from FalleN on a shoddy buy put SK on match point, with the Brazilians securing the next round to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
|SK||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Jake 'Stewie2K' YipStewie2K||69 - 60||+9||88.3||1.21|
|Ricardo 'boltz' Prassboltz||51 - 55||-4||70.7||1.04|
|Marcelo 'coldzera' Davidcoldzera||59 - 51||+8||67.6||1.04|
|Gabriel 'FalleN' ToledoFalleN||51 - 56||-5||63.6||0.99|
|Fernando 'fer' Alvarengafer||53 - 63||-10||69.6||0.98|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||74 - 53||+21||98.3||1.37|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||64 - 56||+8||76.4||1.15|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||54 - 62||-8||72.2||0.93|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||46 - 54||-8||56.3||0.87|
|Epitacio 'TACO' de MeloTACO||47 - 58||-11||56.9||0.86|
The first match of the 2-0 pool began on Mirage, mousesports' map pick, but the reigning StarSeries champions quickly found themselves on the back foot despite drawing first blood in the game.
A third-round buy worked out for AGO, with Dominik "GruBy" Swiderski then pulling off a 1v3 clutch to prevent a reset for his team. The Polish team rode that momentum to run all over the mousesports defence for the rest of the half, cruising to an 11-4 lead after keeping their opponents from stringing rounds together.
Now on the Terrorist side, mousesports won the pistol round and the corresponding anti-ecos to keep themselves in it. However, AGO would not let a comeback and instantly regained control of proceedings after buying up, losing just one more round before running out 16-8 winners.
Train, the map that followed, began at a frantic pace as mousesports hit back right after losing the pistol, only to let AGO win a force-buy of their own. That sparked a terrific run from the Polish side, who brought the scoreline to a 9-1 advantage, putting significant pressure on mousesports' players.
With the game threatening to spiral out of control, the European mixture finally put an end to AGO's winning streak, with Chris "chrisJ" de Jong getting a quad-kill to his name in the following round. The final two rounds of the half would go to the Polish side, who took a commanding 11-4 lead into the break.
mousesports came out of the break a different side and picked up eight rounds without response to take the lead for the first time since the beginning of Mirage, constantly punishing AGO's fragile economy. The Polish side still attempted to issue a response, picking up two rounds in a row, but were kept at bay for the rest of the half by a resolute mousesports defence.
Carrying their momentum into the final map, Inferno, chrisJ's side jumped out to a 7-1 lead on the CT side. It was only then that AGO's offence finally came to life, with the Polish side winning six of the last seven rounds of the half to bring the deficit to a solitary round.
AGO remained in control after the break and won five rounds right off the bat to carve out a significant 12-8 lead. mousesports then got on the board for the first time in the half, but the Poles kept their defence very tight for the rest of the half and quickly put the series to bed.
|AGO||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Michał 'snatchie' Rudzkisnatchie||64 - 52||+12||77.5||1.25|
|Dominik 'GruBy' SwiderskiGruBy||60 - 44||+16||77.6||1.20|
|Tomasz 'phr' Wójcikphr||56 - 46||+10||80.4||1.14|
|Damian 'Furlan' KislowskiFurlan||52 - 49||+3||76.0||1.14|
|Mateusz 'TOAO' ZawistowskiTOAO||40 - 42||-2||62.4||1.00|