Liquid take down fnatic to secure quarter-final appearance in Malta
William "mezii" Merriman's men have been eliminated in the round of 12.
Liquid earned a spot in the quarter-final of ESL Pro League Season 16 following their 2-1 victory over fnatic in the first round of playoffs. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski powered the North Americans to the win on Inferno (16-13) while Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis took over the server on Ancient (16-10)
Meanwhile, fnatic leave EPL in 9-12th place for the third consecutive edition of the tournament, having not reached a top-eight position since March 2020 when they won EPL Season 10 Europe online.
The action between fnatic and Liquid got started on the North Americans' pick of Inferno. The European mix kicked things off on the CT side with a successful pistol round, but their streak did not last long. The attacking team exploited an unstable defensive set-up on the A site to secure a 7-3 lead, courtesy of YEKINDAR and Nick "nitr0" Cannella winning several opening duels. Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson was sublime for fnatic, and his performance was crucial in the mission to salvage a 7-8 half.
mezii's men were more comfortable after switching sides to the offense, and that's when Fredrik "roeJ" Jørgensen came alive. fnatic claimed a 13-12 lead before a complete breakdown in communication on the 26th round allowed EliGE to take down four Ts with the MP9, turning the tide in favor of Liquid. The North American squad edged the map 16-13 after a four-round streak.
fnatic came to their pick Overpass looking to stay in the series, and a 1v3 clutch from KRIMZ on the second round enabled the Europeans to take the early lead. YEKINDAR was again fantastic, with the 22-year-old registering a 1.35 CT side rating to keep Liquid in the match. Two force buy wins gave the North American squad the chance to secure a 7-8 scoreline going into the second half.
Liquid once again failed to build on their pistol round victory, and fnatic did not waste their opportunity. The European mix only dropped one round before evening out the series with a 16-9 win on Overpass. Nico "nicoodoz" Tamjidi's 3k hold on the B site was the highlight of the map and the play that brought back the momentum in favor of fnatic.
The series was decided on Ancient, and it was fnatic to strike first on the CT side after taking the opening pistol round. roeJ was solid throughout the half as he accumulated a 1.48 rating to power his team to an early 6-3 lead. A YEKINDAR 1v2 clutch on the B site put an end to the Europeans' streak and got Liquid back in the game, leading to another 8-7 half in favor of the defense.
The North American squad did not slow down after switching sides and only dropped two rounds in a dominant defensive display which ended the game with a 16-9 scoreline.
|fnatic||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|65 - 54||+11||88.9||1.26|
|60 - 47||+13||79.9||1.17|
|54 - 52||+2||75.8||1.10|
|53 - 57||-4||70.3||1.02|
|44 - 52||-8||63.4||0.93|