Liquid see off Vitality to reach IEM Chicago final
The opening map of the series, Dust2, was the exact same one that Vitality had taken off Liquid during the recent ESL One Cologne final, but for the vast majority of the first half they looked a pale shadow of the team that had impressed everyone in Germany.
A 1v2 clutch by Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut kicked his team into an early lead, but it all went downhill from there. Liquid responded immediately and exploited some glaring holes in Vitality's defence, especially in the A site, where Cédric "RpK" Guipouy often lacked support. To make matters worse, the French team looked overwhelmed at times and let some key rounds slip through fingers, allowing massive clutches from Keith "NAF" Markovic and Jake "Stewie2K" Yip.
Up 12-3, Liquid further added to their lead after capitalising on a botched flank by Dan "apEX" Madesclaire in the pistol round. There was no follow-up, though, as Vitality rallied back immediately on a force buy - a round that injected some much-needed life into the French side.
Alex "ALEX" McMeekin's troops enjoyed a period of dominance and brought the deficit to just three rounds. In the end, it would amount to nothing as Liquid their composure and tightened up their defence to lock down the map at 16-11.
Overpass witnessed a strong start from Vitality, who raced to a 6-2 lead on the CT side after preventing Liquid from building on their round wins, one of which in the opening round of the game. But all of a sudden, the North Americans shifted into a higher gear as they strung seven rounds together to finish the half with a 9-6 lead.
The North American team carried that momentum into the second half and hit 14 rounds with ease. Vitality then finally woke up and attempted a response, but their streak came to an end at the hands of Nick "nitr0" Cannella, who picked up four kills with the AWP over in A. With their economy in shambles, the French side were unable to push the game to overtime as Liquid sealed the deal to set up a best-of-five title decider against ENCE.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||49 - 33||+16||91.5||1.39|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||44 - 31||+13||95.1||1.35|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||41 - 26||+15||83.9||1.31|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||39 - 31||+8||74.0||1.24|
|Jake 'Stewie2K' YipStewie2K||30 - 28||+2||65.5||1.06|