SAW send Imperial to last chance bracket in Malta
SAW progress in the ESL Pro League S17 Group B lower bracket after picking up a hard-fought victory over Imperial. The two sides traded convincing map picks as SAW won Vertigo 16-7 and Imperial replied in kind on Overpass, before it came down to a nail-biting Nuke.
The Portuguese squad prevailed after coming back from a 4-11 deficit on the Terrorist side, clinching the deciding map in overtime. They will face the loser of the BIG vs. Heroic matchup next in the lower bracket semi-finals on Friday at 19:30 .
Imperial are now one loss from elimination and will have to pull off a miracle run through the last-chance stage to advance to the playoffs. Their first match there pits them against Complexity on Saturday at 12:30 .
João "story" Vieira, despite not having much impact with the sniper, topped the charts with nearly 100 ADR on Vertigo. His 1v2 clutch in the first round and a crucial triple in the following kickstarted a successful first stretch of the opening map, in which the Portuguese won the first six rounds unanswered on the Terrorist side.
An impressive recovery from Imperial saw the Brazilians get away with seven rounds in the half after all once Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo got a hold of the AWP and got some key picks in defense of ramp and the A bombsite, but it was all for naught. SAW put together a flawless defense of their own in the second half, this time thanks Tiago "JUST" Moura spearheading a pistol round victory and conversion, to secure the first map 16-7.
Heading over to their own pick of Overpass, Imperial did not let SAW get away with early leads for a change, this time getting off to a head start of their own. With a 2v4 from Ricardo "boltz" Prass and FalleN in round four and a 2v2 win against pistols in the following round, the Brazilian squad gave themselves enough of a cushion to withstand what turned out to be a solid defense from SAW in the end.
Ahead by just one round by halftime after all, Imperial ran away with the second half just like SAW did on Vertigo, courtesy of several crucial multikills from Vinicius "VINI" Figueiredo on the B bombsite. The 23-year-old ended the CT side with a staggering 15-3 score and nearly 200 ADR as Imperial went 8-0 to force the deciding Nuke.
Imperial seemed to be on the way to a comfortable victory when nothing was going wrong for them in the opening half of Nuke. They rarely looked in danger while they went on an 11-round streak on the Terrorist side, as SAW gave up opening duels time and time again and Imperial used the advantages to attack weak sites.
Closing out the match turned out a much tougher challenge than the seven-round lead would suggest. The Portuguese team's upper executes proved too hard to handle, and when Imperial chose to strengthen the A bombsite SAW adjusted to lower hits. Soon the game was even at 12-12, when Imperial finally found a response, but even after having two chances to close the map in regulation they were unable to, as SAW turned a 2v4 situation around in the final round.
A back-and-forth overtime ensued and it was SAW who prevailed in the end on the back of Michel "ewjerkz" Pinto's presence. The Portuguese star helped his team put together a flawless defense as he stepped up with a 1v2 clutch from heaven, catching Imperial out of position with a quick rotation, and a quad-kill in the final round.
|SAW||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|57 - 58||-1||86.7||1.09|
|54 - 52||+2||69.3||1.08|
|52 - 54||-2||73.8||1.08|
|51 - 50||+1||65.9||0.99|
|50 - 52||-2||68.9||0.95|