Riders through to EPL quarter-finals over 9z
The Riders are now set to square off against their former AWPer, SunPayus, and his red-hot ENCE.
Movistar Riders, who were seeded directly into the second round of the ESL Pro League Seaosn 18 playoffs, beat 9z in a tough three-map series to secure a spot in the quarter-finals, where they will face off against ENCE.
Before the series kicked off, Santino "try" Rigal told Conner "Scrawny" Girvan in the pre-match interview that he didn’t expect Movistar Riders to be as hard a rival as Virtus.pro, the team they beat on the eve of their match-up against the Spaniards.
The series started out on a very fought-out Nuke, with Movistar Riders on the CT side and 9z attacking. Forcebuys abounded and both teams bit back at each other all the way to the half. Tiago "JUST" Moura, as the A anchor, was the standout, in a half that ended with Riders up by only one.
Riders increased their one-round lead after the half and quickly established a lead, which went up to 13-9. That’s when 9z put five in a row on the board, including a quad-kill by try to tie things up, 13-13, but in vain. A backbreaking pistol forcebuy after timeout ended up with the jinetes on top, 16-13.
9z boldly chose to start on the CT side of Anubis and, as expected, trailed early on. Unexpectedly, they started to put in rounds on the largely unfavored map and even linked six rounds at the end of the half to lead, 8-7.
The Spaniards won the CT pistol round to keep the dream alive despite the lackluster first half, but it was just a mirage. 9z were unstoppable when the full buy rounds came around and won every single gun round until they hit match point. Riders put up a cosmetic comeback, but were never going to make it to 15-15. La violeta closed it 16-12 and forced Ancient.
Each team won the other’s pick and as such, ended up on the decider, Ancient. Movistar Riders on the defense, 9z attacking. The Riders’ pistol round supremacy continued, but their early 3-0 didn’t end up in a significant lead at any point despite an 11-0 start by Antonio "Martinez" Martinez as 9z ground their way back into the map from 2-6 to stay within one at the switch.
Just as 9z dominated Anubis’ T side, it was Movistar Riders who dismantled their opposition's defenses on Ancient. 9z put two on the board but then disappeared as the Riders put it in sixth gear and cruised to victory, 16-9.
|ESL Pro League Season 18|
|Movistar Riders||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|68 - 43||+25||75.9||1.31|
|61 - 52||+9||82.8||1.13|
|56 - 59||-3||75.9||1.09|
|52 - 59||-7||75.1||0.97|
|48 - 57||-9||69.0||0.95|