Liquid beat Astralis to reach semi-finals in Montpellier
The Danish team had a dream start to Overpass but left it late to close out the map, allowing Liquid to grow in confidence before the second map, Inferno, where the North Americans outplayed their opponents in every possible department. Vertigo was a tale of two halves, with Nick "nitr0" Cannella's charges coming out on top with a near-flawless offensive side.
Liquid will move on to the semi-finals to face mousesports, who are widely regarded as their biggest threat to the title following tonight's game. For Astralis, perhaps more worrying than the defeat was the manner in which they were dismantled on Inferno, which had seemed to become their comfort pick following the recent losses to ENCE and FURIA on Nuke. The Danes to have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to overtake Liquid at the top of the rankings as they leave Montpellier with losses on four different maps: Train, Dust2, Inferno and Vertigo.
The early stages of Overpass were a reminder of just how scary Astralis can be. The first timeout was called by Liquid after just five rounds - a sign that things were not going according to plan for the North Americans on their map pick.
After the pep talk, Liquid came close to winning their first round of the game before Emil "Magisk" Reif caught them off-guard in a flank, killing four opponents. The North Americans got on the board for the first time when Astralis were already in double-digit territory but mustered just three rounds before switching over to the CT side. Besides being almost tactically perfect on the defense, the Danes won the vast majority of the aim duels, with Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski being the only Liquid player who appeared to be on point as he ended the half with 17 kills - one fewer than the rest of the team combined.
A quad-kill by Jake "Stewie2K" Yip gave Liquid a much-needed pistol round, putting the team back into the game. Astralis came fighting back once they had guns to work with, eventually hitting map point at 15-9. The North Americans refused to throw in the towel, but their resistance was broken in the 28th round as the Danes came charging through the B site and took control of it with a three-man advantage.
Liquid came out on Inferno looking a completely different side and took control of proceedings right from the start, making up for the occasional defensive mishap with solid retakes. It was almost a mirror image of the first map, only this time with Liquid in control, with the North American side surrendering a round for the first time when they were up 9-0.
After losing their first round of the game, Liquid hit back with little more than an AWP and a MAG-7 as their semi-buy gamble worked out perfectly, leaving Astralis' players shell-shocked. The North Americans rode that wave of momentum to build a dream 14-1 lead and put one foot on Vertigo.
Astralis knew they had a mountain to climb to turn the game around and put together a string of rounds, bringing the deficit to 14-6. It was all downhill from there for the Danes, as Liquid hit map point with an A split before sealing the deal in the following round.
It all came down to Vertigo, where Astralis came out the brighter of the two sides. Apart from a brief period in which Liquid put together a string of rounds, the Danes were always in control as they raced to an 11-4 lead on the Terrorist side of the map.
Liquid looked very energetic out of the break and won ten rounds right off the bat to get within touching distance of victory. Astralis still attempted a response, but two rounds were all that they could muster as the North Americans continued playing at a very high pace and eventually closed out the game in the 29th round.
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Emil 'Magisk' ReifMagisk||55 - 50||+5||82.9||1.16|
|Nicolai 'device' Reedtzdevice||64 - 62||+2||86.3||1.15|
|Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussendupreeh||57 - 63||-6||70.4||0.91|
|Andreas 'Xyp9x' HøjslethXyp9x||41 - 52||-11||66.2||0.89|
|Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossandergla1ve||38 - 54||-16||56.8||0.74|