G2 edge past Liquid in ESL Pro League playoffs
The North Americans drew first blood in the series but could not close it out.
G2 have booked their place in the second round of the ESL Pro League Season 13 playoffs following a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Liquid, who have been eliminated in 9th-12th place. The North American side produced the recipe for victory but were ultimately made to pay the price for their inability to win a single pistol round in the series.
G2's fans have Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač to thank for the reverse sweep as it was the Bosnian's spectacular 30-bomb on Vertigo that kept the team in the series after a disappointing loss on Dust2. The final map, Inferno, was a nail-biting affair that almost ended in overtime as both teams put in resolute defensive performances.
"It feels great, it just sucks that we couldn't win Dust2 because we won both pistols and we converted them," Nikola "NiKo" Kovač said after the match. "It was a really good game by Liquid. When you win two pistols, you need to get like 13 or 14 rounds. They played really well on Dust2.
"We've worked on our pistols, and Jackie is really good at pistols, which helps a lot."
G2 made a bright start to the series, picking up a 3-0 lead on Dust2, but the pattern of the game changed once Liquid had money in the bank. The North Americans enjoyed a period of dominance - only briefly interrupted by a 1v3 clutch from Nemanja "nexa" Isaković - before G2 staged a late recovery to keep the deficit to a minimum.
The second half began with nexa and NiKo overturning a 2v3 post-plant situation to restore parity at 8-8. G2 held firm against Liquid's force-buy in the following round, but there was nothing they could to stop the North Americans once they had guns in hand. With Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo leading the charge, Liquid took control of the game and ripped G2's ragged defence apart for a quick end to the map.
On Vertigo, G2 once again started the better of the two, but their grip on the game loosened as the half wore on. Despite a fantastic showing by huNter- (18-13 K-D, 143 ADR and six multi-kills), the international team went into the break down by three rounds after a 7-1 run by Liquid at the end of the half. The Bosnian's dominance continued in the second half, when G2 were far too hot for Liquid to handle. The rounds that Liquid edged out were few and far between as nexa's troops put in a near-flawless T display to secure the map.
François "AmaNEk" Delaunay opened the action on Inferno with a pistol ace on Inferno to fire G2 into the lead, but their respite was shortlived as Liquid hit back immediately. Michael "Grim" Wince and Jake "Stewie2K" Yip picked up 16 frags apiece as the North Americans kept their defence tight to end the half on double-digit territory. G2 came out of the break a revitalised side and kept Liquid's players at bay for large portions of the half, sealing the victory in the final round of regulation after a chaotic end to the game.
G2's players breathed a sigh of relief after narrowly avoiding elimination against a team that had survived the 'Group of Death' with a 4-1 record. They'll be fancying their chances for Sunday's match against FURIA, whom they have already defeated this year (2-1 victory in the BLAST Premier Global Final).
"I think we're going to play better than we did today," NiKo said. "This was a really important win for our confidence. We won all pistols, but the games weren't really convincing.
"We feel confident going up against FURIA, I think we've figured out how they approach the games and we know how to counter it. They've probably improved with junior since they've had a lot of time. It should be a good one."
|G2||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|70 - 60||+10||88.4||1.23|
|62 - 52||+10||85.4||1.20|
|60 - 50||+10||69.0||1.06|
|46 - 53||-7||60.1||0.92|
|44 - 62||-18||61.9||0.79|