EG see off Na`Vi to reach EPICENTER semi-finals
It was a tough day for Counter-Strike fans from the CIS region. After forZe had been humbled by Heroic earlier on Saturday, it was Natus Vincere's time to be on the receiving end of a defeat, leaving no CIS team alive as we head into the final day of EPICENTER. The home crowd favorites put up yet another insipid performance, though they only have themselves to blame for at least not taking the series to a third map after making a plethora of mistakes in the second half of Dust2 against an Evil Geniuses team who capitalised on every opportunity they got.
The North Americans were in control for the vast majority of the series, with Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov leading the charge on Mirage before Ethan "Ethan" Arnold took over on Dust2. However, they will have to raise their game considerably on Sunday against mousesports to avoid a fifth straight defeat against the Europeans, who are looking to end the year with another trophy in the bag.
It is too early to tell if this is the end of the road for Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács, who once again gave a poor account of himself, especially on Mirage, where he was barely noticed on the Terrorist side. But questions will have to be asked after Na`Vi failed to repeat last year's final appearance at EPICENTER and were once again outclassed by a team placed higher in the rankings. With the year about to end, Na`Vi have just one title to show for their efforts, which came at the distant StarSeries i-League Season 7.
Na`Vi made a lively start to the match and raced to a 5-0 lead on the CT side of Mirage, Evil Geniuses' map pick. The North Americans then finally got on the board as Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte unlocked the A defense with two entry frags, allowing his team to turn a 3v5 situation around.
That was the beginning of a dominant period from Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz's troops. EG upped the tempo and caused all sorts of problems to the Na`Vi defense to end the half chasing a one-round deficit.
Evil Geniuses carried that momentum into the second half and took the pistol round following an all-headshots ace from Brehze. After getting their economy back on track, Na`Vi reclaimed the lead, but their comeback attempt would be cut short as they were shut down by the EG defense in the remainder of the half.
Dust2 began with a dominant start from Evil Geniuses, who stormed to a 6-1 lead after ruthlessly ripping the Na`Vi defense apart in the opening stages. Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov then went huge with a trio of kills inside B on a shoddy buy, halting EG's momentum and giving Na`Vi a much-needed boost as the game was starting to slip away from them. Together with Denis "electronic" Sharipov, the Russian in-game leader kept the crowd interested and excited with several multi-kill rounds, with the half ending with a narrow 8-7 lead for Natus Vincere.
electronic further added to Na`Vi's lead with a key clutch in a scrappy pistol round, denying Ethan the ace. There would be no respite for the Russian team, though, as EG rallied back instantly with little more than pistols and rode that momentum to a massive 14-10 lead.
It looked like EG had the game under control, but GuardiaN came to Na`Vi's rescue with a timely clutch to keep the Crocus Expo Hall crowd believing. The Russian team pressed on and pinned the North Americans against the ropes, but then they shockingly lost an anti-eco round before Tarik "tarik" Celik and stanislaw struck the finishing blow in the 30th round on a very weak buy.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Kirill 'Boombl4' MikhailovBoombl4||41 - 39||+2||83.0||1.12|
|Denis 'electronic' Sharipovelectronic||41 - 43||-2||80.0||1.05|
|Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostylievs1mple||38 - 38||0||76.4||1.00|
|Egor 'flamie' Vasilyevflamie||26 - 38||-12||56.0||0.77|
|Ladislav 'GuardiaN' KovácsGuardiaN||26 - 39||-13||46.1||0.74|