Liquid knock out Astralis from PGL Major
The first match of the day featured a once iconic CS:GO rivalry between new lineups of Astralis and Liquid, who faced off in their 2-2 pool series to decide which of the two teams would continue their campaign at the PGL Major Antwerp in the Legends stage of the tournament.
At the end of two thrilling maps, it was the Nick "nitr0" Cannella-led squad who got the better of their Danish opponents, taking Vertigo 16-14 and closing out the series on Ancient, 16-13.
Astralis' loss is yet another blow to the Danes and their fans, as their failure to qualify for the Legends stage also means that the organization has failed to place in the top 16 of a Major for the first time in history. It also marks the first time Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth will not attend the top 16 stage, while a victory for Liquid means Richard "shox" Papillon will retain his flawless record for the 17th Major in a row.
Liquid kicked things off with a bang on their map pick Vertigo, as nitr0's side broke down the Astralis defense through swift and calculated pushes into bomb site, going up 7-1 behind remarkable fragging from shox and Josh "oSee" Ohm.
It wasn't long before Astralis started to pick up the pace, completely reversing the momentum in the latter part of the half by answering nearly all of Liquid's attacks, narrowing the North American team's lead to just one entering halftime. Benjamin "blameF" Bremer was a huge factor in the Danes' first half comeback, dropping 18 kills for his team.
After swapping sides, Astralis took pistol and the two succeeding rounds to attain their first lead of the series, however nitr0's squad were not about to go down without a fight, as Liquid took the next six rounds in a row giving them a comfortable 14-10 advantage.
Two rounds away from dropping the first map, the Danes clawed their way back into the game behind a crucial 1vs3 clutch in the 26th from Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and blameF's incredible overall performance to bring both teams level again. In the end, Liquid denied Astralis the comeback thanks to a winning clutch from Keith "NAF" Markovic in the 30th, and closed out an extremely back-and-forth Vertigo, 16-14.
Ancient began with a similar theme to the first map, Liquid securing a quick 4-1 lead to put early pressure on Astralis. The Danes wouldn't allow the gap to be stretched out this time, however, taking five straight rounds behind the firepower provided by Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke and blameF. As the half came to an end, Liquid regained their advantage through exceptional coordination, converting four of the last five rounds and finding themselves up 8-7 at the switch.
Coming out of the break, Astralis took pistol and played lockdown defense against Liquid's advances onto site which allowed them to garner a 12-9 lead after six rounds in the second period. The North American side flipped the switch at the most crucial time, completely running over Astralis' defenses, including sensational clutches from the Captain himself, nitr0, en route to a 16-13 Ancient victory, and ultimately a Legends stage berth.
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|62 - 38||+24||107.2||1.48|
|40 - 43||-3||77.8||1.02|
|39 - 39||0||66.2||1.01|
|29 - 45||-16||54.6||0.78|
|24 - 43||-19||56.5||0.71|