ZywOo shines as Vitality move past fnatic in BLAST Premier Europe Showdown
The French team march on to the last-four stage after delivering what was their best performance of the tournament to date. After looking a bit off the pace in the group stage, even losing to Portuguese side sAw, and requiring three maps to beat Dignitas on Friday, Vitality were a class above fnatic, whose online woes continued as they struggled to get into the rhythm of the match, recording their sixth loss in the last 30 days.
Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut was once again the star for Vitality as he topped the scoreboard on both maps, taking his tournament rating to 1.51. He is now leading the charts in 10 statistical categories - a welcoming sight for fans of the French team ahead of Sunday's semi-final clash with NiP.
Without surprise, Vitality went for a Nuke pick, hoping to build on their recent form on this map. The French side, who had held Natus Vincere, Astralis and Dignitas to single digits in their last three Nuke encounters, began the game on the back foot but quickly took control of proceedings, with Richard "shox" Papillon kicking the team into the lead with a 1v3 clutch on the upper bombsite. Together with ZywOo, the 28-year-old led the charge for Vitality in this one-sided first half, which ended with five rounds separating the two teams.
Things looked bleak for the Swedish side as they switched to the offense, and they got even worse as Vitality picked up the ensuing pistol round. Maikil "Golden" Selim's troops were unwilling to go down without a fight, however, and began to chip away at Vitality's lead, eventually bringing the deficit to a solitary round.
But that was as far as they went: with pressure mounting, Vitality finally put their foot down to hold back the Swedes and chained five rounds together to lock down the map, with ZywOo capping off a memorable performance with a trio of AWP frags in the final round to take his tally to 31 kills.
Vitality kept the momentum going and took an early lead on Inferno, only to squander it after being caught off-guard by fnatic's force-buy in the third round. The French team would not let things get out of hand and quickly regained the upper hand, but a late resurgence from fnatic allowed the Swedish team to head into the break down by just one round.
The second half was a complete disaster by fnatic, whose defense was ripped to shreds by the Frenchmen. Golden put the Swedish team on the board six rounds into the half with three quick kills inside A, but then two rounds later he shockingly stopped a ten-second defuse with just 0.92 seconds left in a 1v1 situation with Cédric "RpK" Guipouy. The Swedes still attempted a response, but Vitality finally put the game to bed in the 25th round on a shoddy buy after catching Golden all alone on the B site.
|fnatic||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|37 - 38||-1||74.5||0.89|
|27 - 36||-9||58.8||0.87|
|29 - 39||-10||79.5||0.83|
|31 - 38||-7||59.1||0.81|
|26 - 37||-11||62.1||0.78|