Extra Salt edge out forZe to reach FunSpark ULTI grand final
The North American side will be fighting for their first European title on Monday.
Extra Salt have gone from strength to strength in FunSpark ULTI 2020 Europe Final, their second tournament on European soil, taking down BIG, Dignitas, and now forZe in BO3 series. Their most recent victory, inspired by Josh "oSee" Ohm's consistent contributions, sees them advance to the grand final of the event where they will have a one-map advantage.
The team led by Johnny "JT" Theodosiou didn't have an easy task dispatching the other surprise of the tournament, forZe, who previously took down Virtus.pro and Complexity. Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov's side did fall flat on Inferno, but took Train and pushed Extra Salt to their limit on Nuke. Ultimately, the North American side managed to keep their composure and take the series after overtime.
To set up a rematch, forZe will have to take another massive scalp on Sunday, as they face BIG in the consolidation final. The Germans have looked better since falling to the lower bracket, though, and will be hoping they can complete the dream run and win the $150,000 first place prize on the final day of the event.
Inferno was a one sided affair in favor of Extra Salt, who schooled forZe on their own map pick. The North American side started things off with a 6-1 run on the defense, before forZe managed to claim three in a row. Justin "FaNg" Coakley and Aran "Sonic" Groesbeek accelerated as the end of the half neared, locking things down to finish it 11-4 ahead. FaNg's T-side pistol ace saw Extra Salt close in towards victory, securing the map comfortably, 16-5.
On Train, forZe gained control on the defense thanks to a second-round force win, moving up to a 5-1 lead early. JT made sure things didn't get out of control, though, finding entries in three of the next four rounds to equalize things at 5-5. The rest of the half was back and forth, ending 8-7 in favor of Jerry's team. forZe's offense was remarkable as they again won the force and went on to reach map point in no time, 15-8. Extra Salt started to put on a comeback, but ultimately fell to a mixed buy, moving things to Nuke.
Focusing on hitting the A site was forZe's approach to Nuke, but it didn't yield much success to the Russian side. Extra Salt's defense of upper was air-tight, losing just a couple of rounds on route to an 11-4 half. What seemed like a massive lead shrunk swiftly after the swap, forZe's six-round streak bringing the gap down to just one (11-10). What didn't work for forZe in the first half paid dividends for JT and co. as repetitive top-side hits found success.
However, forZe held on, seeing the game reach a 15-15 stalemate and go into overtime. In the added rounds, Extra Salt again hammered the A site on the offense to swap sides 2-1 ahead, closing it out on the defense 19-17.
|forZe||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|65 - 64||+1||84.3||1.12|
|56 - 60||-4||73.2||1.02|
|54 - 55||-1||59.0||0.99|
|51 - 62||-11||67.7||0.90|
|50 - 64||-14||69.1||0.88|