Liquid edge past NRG to reach semi-finals in Malta
The first day in St. Julian's came to an end with a mouth-watering North American derby between Liquid and NRG, the highest-ranked teams in attendance, sitting at third and eighth, respectively. It was also a rematch of the recent ECS group elimination match, which NRG won in convincing fashion, sending Nick "nitr0" Cannella's men packing early in the tournament.
A trio of kills by Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov in the first pistol round on Overpass shut down Liquid's B execution and set NRG up for an early lead. Liquid, who had been thrashed 16-8 in Arlington on this map, took control of proceedings once they had money in the bag, winning six rounds in a row, but then they ran out of gas, with NRG closing out the half with a one-round lead.
NRG picked up where they left off and further added to their lead by taking the opening two rounds of the half. Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken then breathed new life into Liquid's recovery push with a sensational Famas quad-kill, but it came to naught. NRG bounced back immediately, resetting Liquid's players, and put together another string of rounds to lock down the map at 16-8.
Inferno, the second map of the series, began in the same manner as Overpass, with Liquid battling back after losing the opening two rounds of the game. This time around, however, NRG quickly regained control of proceedings, setting up a tight defense to counter Liquid's executions.
With the game threatening to spiral out of control, Keith "NAF" Markovic came to Liquid's rescue with a triple kill on the A site. nitr0's men woke up after that and picked up the pace, bringing the deficit to a solitary round by the end of the half.
The second half began with Liquid catching NRG's players off-guard with an overly-aggressive approach. That was the start of a dominant run from Liquid, who lost just one of the opening seven rounds of the half.
Damian "daps" Steele & co. were unwilling to let things get out of hand, though, and won three rounds together to cut the gap to one round, but their efforts were in vain as Liquid tightened up their defense to close out the map, 16-12, and take the series to Mirage.
The final map was the most lopsided of the three. Liquid came out of the gate with all guns blazing and cruised to an 11-2 lead after shutting down any chances of their opponents stringing rounds together.
|NRG||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Ethan 'Ethan' ArnoldEthan||58 - 48||+10||88.7||1.19|
|Tsvetelin 'CeRq' DimitrovCeRq||50 - 47||+3||76.2||1.13|
|Vincent 'Brehze' CayonteBrehze||49 - 51||-2||77.3||1.07|
|Damian 'daps' Steeledaps||41 - 52||-11||57.9||0.87|
|Jacob 'FugLy' MedinaFugLy||27 - 46||-19||54.9||0.75|