Na`Vi take down NRG to book playoff spot in Shanghai
The opening map of this 2-1 pool series, Inferno, began at a frantic pace as the two teams went back and forth in the early stages of the game. Na`Vi, who began on the CT side, then took control of proceedings, keeping the North Americans at bay for the majority of the half. In the end, the Ukrainian giants took a 9-6 lead, but the scoreline could have been much more severe had NRG not stolen some unlikely rounds, one of which thanks to a 1v2 clutch by Ethan "Ethan" Arnold in an eco round.
The break did not change the course of the game, which remained as scrappy as ever, with NRG getting traded back every time that a round went their way. After claiming a gun round, the North Americans came close to finally putting together a string of rounds, but Denis "electronic" Sharipov pulled off a massive 1v3 clutch in B site. Na`Vi now had the economy control and were simply too far ahead, locking down the map at 16-9 to take the lead in the series.
Na`Vi carried that momentum into Mirage and took the pistol round as Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Egor "flamie" Vasilyev overturned a 2v4 situation after Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov had tapped down three opponents. The Ukrainian team could not convert that pistol round win as NRG hit back immediately, with the North American side then defusing the bomb in the nick of time to deny s1mple a stunning 1v4 clutch.
The 2018 player of the year was unfazed by that and just a few minutes later he was back with another bang, pulling off a 1v3 clutch in the B site. Na`Vi surged to a 9-3 lead, but then they lost another anti-eco, which gave NRG a huge confidence boost and allowed them to bring the gap to just three rounds.
Natus Vincere came out strongly from the break and won four of the initial five rounds of the half to increase their lead to 13-7. NRG were unwilling to go down without a fight, though, and put together a string of rounds, even outplaying their opponents on two occasions with clutches from Damian "daps" Steele and Ethan. However, a comeback was not on the cards as Na`Vi tightened up their defense to secure this hard-fought map at 16-13.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Denis 'electronic' Sharipovelectronic||49 - 30||+19||106.4||1.58|
|Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostylievs1mple||50 - 29||+21||86.0||1.40|
|Ioann 'Edward' SukharievEdward||42 - 35||+7||80.2||1.26|
|Danylo 'Zeus' TeslenkoZeus||34 - 26||+8||69.8||1.17|
|Egor 'flamie' Vasilyevflamie||36 - 33||+3||73.9||1.08|
|NRG||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Ethan 'Ethan' ArnoldEthan||37 - 38||-1||91.0||1.13|
|Tsvetelin 'CeRq' DimitrovCeRq||43 - 42||+1||74.9||1.02|
|Tarik 'tarik' Celiktarik||26 - 42||-16||64.2||0.74|
|Vincent 'Brehze' CayonteBrehze||30 - 47||-17||59.6||0.74|
|Damian 'daps' Steeledaps||17 - 43||-26||46.7||0.55|