No upsets, but plenty of excitement and hard-fought games in the ESL Pro League.
With Group D, we officially enter into the last legs of the Group Stage of ESL Pro League Season 16. Thus far, every team has played two matches, and while 3 teams have won two games each, the other three in the group are yet to win a match. That’s not to say that the group is boring, though, because some of the matches have been intense and hotly contested.
Group D features the likes of Cloud9, Eternal Fire, Evil Geniuses, FURIA Esports, Movistar Riders, and Team Liquid.
Group D Day 1 and 2 Results
The first day’s matches began with an all-American (in terms of organizations) clash with C9 taking on EG, which the CIS lineup won with ease. South American juggernauts FURIA then had an incredibly close first two maps with Eternal Fire, but owned the third for a 2-1 win. The last match of the day went to Team Liquid, who edged out Movistar Riders in a match that constantly went back and forth.
Day 2 began with C9 defeating EF in straight games despite stiff competition before FURIA had one uncomplicated and one difficult win against the Riders. In the last match so far, Liquid made short work of a despondent EG.
How the Group D Table Stands
Cloud9 have the lead after not dropping a single map across two matches, with Furia following closely behind with a higher round difference than Team Liquid, who also lost a map against Riders. Eternal Fire, Movistar Riders, and Evil Geniuses are the rest of the group's teams, and they have yet to get off the mark.
ESL Pro League Season 16 Day 1 and Day 2 Recap
Now we dive further into the matches themselves.
Cloud9 were always the favorites to take this group, and their first series certainly spoke volumes about the sheer quality of the team. Inferno was a relatively close affair at 16-12, but three C9 players topped the ratings, with Abay “HObbit” Hasenov well ahead of the rest. On Dust 2, it was a two-man show by Sergey ”Ax1Le” Rykhtorov and IGL Vladislav ”nafany” Gorshkov as the Major-winning clan smashed their fellow American organization 16-5.
Up next, FURIA’s Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato and Yuri “yuurih” Boian made sure they won Nuke 16-11 with stellar performances despite a brilliant turn for EF by İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş. On Vertigo, things got dicey as the two teams went into overtime, but Andrei “arT” Piovezan’s efforts were thwarted by those of Engin “MAJ3R” Küpeli and XANTARES. Chances of any potential upsets, however, were laid to rest by KSCERATO and arT as the South Americans breezed through Inferno 16-5.
Arguably the tightest game in the tournament so far took place between Liquid and Riders. Mirage went to the Americans 16-13, with Latvian import Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis being the deciding factor with 32 kills. After that, Inferno was even closer as the Spaniards managed to win it after exactly 30 rounds with Alejandro ”ALEX” Masanet Candela and Antonio “Martinez” Martinez Sánchez both shining. The Americans finished things off with a win on Vertigo, with Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and YEKINDAR outdoing Raúl ”DeathZz” Jordán Nieto.
FURIA danced on the corpses of Riders as they beat the Spanish side 16-3 on Ancient with KSCERATO starring once again. Nuke was a much closer affair, but the exploits of the in-form KSCERATO again made the difference as his team won 16-13.
XANTARES’ one-man-army performance had no bearing on the result of his team’s first map against C9, with EF losing 16-12 on Dust 2 as HObbit led the way for his team. Overpass was almost identical as XANTARES’ 1.83 HLTV rating was countered by Dmitriy ”sh1ro” Sokolov’s 1.79. C9 came back from 10-1 down to win 16-11.
The day's last match saw Liquid ease past fellow Americans EG 16-7 and 16-8 on Inferno and Dust 2, respectively. YEKINDAR topped the rankings on both maps, with Keith “NAF” Markovic following closely on the first map and EliGE in the second.
Join us again when the group ends as we not only recap the group but discuss what lies ahead in the playoffs.