Liquid kick off IEM Katowice campaign by moving past IHC
The Nick "nitr0" Cannella-led side made up for a slow start on Inferno and took the win in 2-0 fashion.
Liquid are through to the upper bracket semi-final of the IEM Katowice group stage after defeating IHC 2-0. The North American team started off on shaky ground on Inferno and faced a 1-9 deficit, but recovered well in the second half to clinch victory before dominating on Overpass to close out the series.
The victory is much-needed for Liquid, who struggled at BLAST Spring Groups and went out in last place. Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis said in a pre-match interview that the team had been unable to practice ahead of the event in Copenhagen and had gone into the tournament knowing they might struggle, but knew they could regather themselves ahead of Katowice, where they main focus lay at the start of the year. Liquid will need to maintain their good form as they are next set to face Natus Vincere at 19:30 on Sunday for a spot in the Spodek Arena.
IHC come away from the game disappointed after squandering their stellar start to Inferno, mentioning after the game that their CT-side was something they would need to work on if they hoped to be competitive. The Mongolian team have an equally difficult test ahead of them in their next match, where they will fight for their tournament lives against Cloud9 at the same time that Liquid play NAVI.
A pistol win from Liquid seemed to be all the North American side could offer on Inferno as IHC put up a dominant scoreline to start things off, excellent reads and calls being the catalyst in a superb 9-1 start to the T-side for the Mongolian team. Liquid finally put a halt to that nine-round streak by barely converting a 4vs2 B site retake, denying Garidmagnai "bLitz" Byambasuren an ace to put their second round on the board. nitr0's men found their footing from there, multi-kills from Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Keith "NAF" Markovic enabling a resurgence in the half as they recovered to only be down by three rounds at the break.
A pistol win and subsequent conversion extended IHC's lead following the side swap, but those two rounds would be the only time the Mongolian team would score consecutive round wins on the defense. Liquid were in cruise control on the attack and the situation began to look less dire as the gap between the teams closed substantially. The turning point came in round 22, where Liquid recovered a 3vs5 situation following a quad kill round from nitr0, excellence in a B bombsite post-plant halting IHC in their tracks. Momentum was completely in Liquid's favor from that point onward, and the team's T side pack demolished IHC's defenses to help edge out victory, 16-13.
Liquid kicked off Overpass in the same form that Inferno ended, a pistol round ace from EliGE granting them early control on the attack. Much of the first half was in the North American team's hands as IHC couldn't find an answer for Liquid's default, and it was Liquid who ran up a strong 10-5 scoreline by the time halftime was reached. The second half proved even more one-sided as IHC had no margin for error and couldn't get back into the game fast enough, and Liquid conceded just one round en route to a 16-6 finish, with NAF cleaning up the final round with an ace at Monster to net his team the win.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|52 - 22||+30||98.5||1.65|
|44 - 26||+18||80.4||1.37|
|36 - 33||+3||70.4||1.17|
|34 - 35||-1||83.2||1.12|
|17 - 31||-14||52.4||0.77|
|IHC||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|41 - 36||+5||96.9||1.20|
|32 - 37||-5||64.7||0.89|
|27 - 36||-9||55.9||0.78|
|24 - 40||-16||64.7||0.72|
|22 - 37||-15||48.1||0.65|