Na`Vi squeeze past forZe to secure first ESL Pro League S11 victory
Despite being the #1 ranked team in the world, Natus Vincere's form was questionable going into the match against forZe as their return to online CS wasn't going too well. Before the start of ESL Pro League S11, the CIS side played their last online match in 2018, and suffered defeats to BIG and North this week.
On the other hand, forZe opened the competition with two wins, and looked good to secure their third one, over Natus Vincere, throughout the series. However, time after time, Natus Vincere were able to pull off comebacks, and eventually claim the series on Nuke, 2-1.
forZe were quick out of the gates on Inferno, their map pick, as they claimed eight unanswered rounds to kick off the proceedings. Evgeny "FL1T" Lebedev, who was a transfer target for Natus Vincere earlier this year, was leading the charge for forZe, posting 14K-5D as they closed out the first half with a 10-5 lead.
Four more rounds were added to their tally after the switch to the CT side, seeing Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov's men assume a dominant 14-5 advantage. On the brink of defeat, Natus Vincere woke up and starting mounting a comeback, but a gamble play from forZe finally worked out, allowing them to close out the map 16-12.
Double kills from Dmitriy "facecrack" Alekseyev and Bogdan "xsepower" Chernikov in the CT pistol allowed forZe a strong start on Train, following up their success from the opening map. The score was 10-2 for the all-Russian team before Natus Vincere managed to find their footing, claiming four rounds before the switch mainly thanks to the efforts of Denis "electronic" Sharipov and Egor "flamie" Vasilyev.
Following some initial T-side success for forZe (13-6), Natus Vincere put up the defenses and, just like on Inferno, started mounting the second-half comeback. Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev activated on the defense and helped his side reach 15-15, who built on their CT success in overtime to close out the map 19-17.
Natus Vincere brought over that momentum to Nuke, where they claimed a 5-1 lead on the offense to put pressure on Jerry and co. from the start. The Russian in-game leader and facecrack were catalysts for forZe's comeback in the second part of the half (7-8), but Natus Vincere kept ahead by claiming the pistol after the switch.
The score was 11-7 for Natus Vincere before forZe managed their first buy, but they made it count and started chaining rounds together. However, after reaching a 13-11 lead, forZe fumbled an anti-eco round which allowed Natus Vincere to swing ahead and claim the victory on Nuke after a s1mple 1v2 clutch.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|70 - 61||+9||81.1||1.16|
|67 - 61||+6||71.1||1.09|
|66 - 62||+4||75.8||1.05|
|62 - 68||-6||75.3||1.01|
|45 - 57||-12||62.0||0.86|
|forZe||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|75 - 72||+3||89.9||1.21|
|66 - 63||+3||87.5||1.09|
|69 - 58||+11||72.4||1.05|
|47 - 55||-8||55.1||0.94|
|52 - 64||-12||60.7||0.90|