Movistar Riders clinch semi-final berth over Liquid
After a convincing first map, the Spaniards had to work hard to close out the series.
Movistar Riders bested Liquid 2-1 in a hard-fought series to make the semi-finals, taking Ancient 16-9, dropping Inferno 14-16, before closing it out 16-12 on Vertigo. The Spanish side will take on FaZe on Saturday at 19:00 .
Movistar Riders continue their impressive recent form, and in this series posted some commendable T sides throughout. When crunch time came, they had big performances from Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia and Raúl "DeathZz" Jordán Nieto to help get them over the line.
Liquid's supposed firepower advantage didn't manifest on the server bar the second half of Inferno, as they lost against too many ecos and partial buys to be able to take the victory. The North American team, bolstered by Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis, ends the event in fifth-sixth place in their best showing of the year so far.
Ancient, the pick of Liquid, opened this series, and the NA squad struggled on their offensive half. A Movistar Riders pistol win got them to a convincing 6-1 lead, before an unlikely 3v5 round victory looked like it might get Liquid back into the game. The Spaniards had other ideas, particularly the stellar SunPayus, and they won a partial buy to squash the comeback before it really began, a creative boost in the A site getting most of the work done.
Liquid could not find any traction throughout the half, needing heroics from Josh "oSee" Ohm and Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski to find their few round wins, allowing Movistar Riders to take a comfortable 11-4 half.
Alejandro "alex" Masanet and co. took the second pistol to put Liquid in a difficult position, and despite the NA squad managing to pick up a string of five rounds, they could not prevent their opposition eventually taking a statement 16-9 victory. SunPayus in particular deserves credit for his unbelievable performance in the first half.
Movistar Riders took yet another pistol win to open their offense on Inferno and they set about putting together another monster T-half, showing a beautifully coordinated attack that repeatedly crunched the Liquid defenders and found gaps in the setups. A shift in the defence that saw Liquid contesting banana control with three players bore fruit, getting the NA squad four rounds, but they still managed to lose a couple of half-buy rounds to squander any potential comeback, and the half ended 10-5 in the Spaniards’ favour.
The second pistol went the way of Liquid to give themselves hope, they were beaten by a force-buy seemingly losing that hope, only to win a force of their own to find it once again. Nick "nitr0" Cannella and co. managed to stabilise for a time, the entire team seeming to activate to put Movistar Riders under the first real pressure they had endured all series, getting the score to 10-11. As happened far too often for the NA squad in this match they lost against a partial buy, threatening to squander their comeback.
An incredible 1v3 clutch on the A site from oSee in the following round seemed to give his team breathing room, but Movistar Riders forced yet again and a magical 3k with the CZ from Alejandro "mopoz" Fernández-Quejo Cano won another round and typified the hectic nature of the second half. At this point Liquid finally took control of the game with their fast-paced offense catching out the Spaniards time and time again, particularly YEKINDAR on banana, and the NA side finally closed the game 16-14 to take us to a decider.
Movistar Riders won their fourth pistol round to begin the CT side of Vertigo, converting it to a 3-0 lead before Liquid threw some fast-paced rounds at their opponents, grabbing five of the next four. It was now that the Spanish squad began to find success on the retake, and they rode that success until the money ran out for Liquid; Movistar Riders took a 10-5 lead into the second period.
The Spaniards won another pistol to take their tally to 5/6, but a hero play from Keith "NAF" Markovic won Liquid the following round and the economic damage that caused got his team to a 10-11 score. Movistar Riders recovered, achieving success finding the opening frags at ramp and with DeathZz' mid lurks, winning three in a row to get to 14-10.
NAF once again came to the rescue for Liquid, winning back-to-back rounds with important multi-kills, but a fast B-hit from Movistar Riders on a weak buy put them at 15-12 and their opponents economy in the bin. Liquid couldn’t hold with a weak buy of their own, and Movistar took a 16-12 win to put themselves in the semi-finals.
|Movistar Riders||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|71 - 46||+25||88.0||1.38|
|60 - 51||+9||80.7||1.11|
|54 - 62||-8||75.4||1.01|
|55 - 59||-4||74.0||1.01|
|45 - 49||-4||60.1||0.98|