The final group sprang up a few surprises on its later days, but the established order didn’t change much
The Group Stage of ESL Pro League Season 16 has finally come to an end, and the last group’s hierarchy pretty much met everyone’s expectations. That being said, individual match results didn’t all pan out the way most people expected them to, with plenty of surprises thrown into the mix of otherwise predictable results. With the playoffs looming large, let’s take a look at the situation in Group D.
ESL Pro League Season 16 — Group D, Day 3-5
If you’re not aware of what transpired on days 1 and 2 of Group D, you can check out the recap of that here first.
Cloud9 continued their domination on the third day with a smooth 2-0 over Movistar Riders’ new and struggling lineup before Evil Geniuses surprised a lot of people by defeating Eternal Fire in imperious fashion. The battle of the Americas then ensued between Team Liquid and FURIA Esports, with the latter taking the crown home on the day — albeit after being tested.
The next day, EG got their second win of the tournament with a clean sweep over Riders, EF surprised everyone by getting their own 2-0 over Liquid, and finally, C9 flexed their strength by taking down FURIA in straight games.
With three matches taking place simultaneously on the final day, the action came thick and fast. Liquid consolidated their dwindling chances of qualification by beating C9, EF trashed Riders as expected by that point, and FURIA won their second battle of the Americas against EG comfortably.
Final Group D Table
C9 took the top spot with 4 wins and just one loss, but FURIA are only behind because they dropped a map and have 9 less rounds in their favor. The duo are followed by Liquid, who ultimately didn’t have to worry about round difference as they went through on points alone. EG and EF are both knocked out despite promising performances in the latter half of the group’s play. Lastly, the Riders clearly have a lot of work to do with their new roster before they begin challenging tier 1 teams again.
ESL Pro League Season 16 Recap — Group D
With the results having been taken care of, let’s take a look at the individual matchups.
C9 are a force to be reckoned with under any circumstances, and the Russians showed their class by beginning Day 3 with a stomp against Riders. Timofey ”interz” Yakushin was the hero of Inferno as his team won 16-7, with Dmitriy ”sh1ro” Sokolov not far behind. Vertigo was an even easier time for the CIS lineup, with Sergey ”Ax1Le” Rykhtorov topping the charts as they jaywalked to a 16-4 win.
EG’s 2-0 over EF began with a 16-9 result on Overpass, with newcomer Sanjar “neaLaN” İshakov being the pick of the bunch. Timothy “autimatic” Ta and Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov spearheaded a team effort on Dust 2 as the US team trounced their Turkish opponents 16-4.
Although the final match was the day’s most competitive, the individual games weren’t very close. Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato resumed his insane form alongside Andrei “arT” Piovezan as FURIA took Mirage 16-10, but Liquid fought back strong with a 16-7 win on Inferno with Keith “NAF” Markovic starring. The final match was even more one-sided as FURIA ran riot on Vertigo led by Yuri “yuurih” Boian.
Day 4 began with EG taking out the Riders with ease. Overpass was won 16-9 as autimatic stepped up once again with a strong 1.64 HLTV rating. The same in-form man also did wonders as EG won Nuke 16-8, this time accompanied by Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte.
Liquid vs EF was a hotly contested match. The latter took Vertigo 16-13 as Özgür “woxic” Eker went haywire with a 1.78-rated performance, but if you thought that was impressive, he basically carried them to a 16-11 victory with a 1.88-rated run on Inferno.
Mirage between C9 and FURIA should have been a much closer affair, but solid play from sh1ro and Ax1Le meant that their team won 16-8. On Overpass, things got dicey as yuurih almost took his team over the line, but sh1ro stepped up once again as C9 took it 16-14.
Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis led the charts for Liquid on both maps as they swept C9 to seal their playoff slot. He was brilliant on Inferno with a pivotal 1v3 clutch on 12HP among other plays, thwarting the efforts of C9’s Ax1Le to propel Liquid to a 16-10 victory. However, this was nothing compared to Overpass, where his incredible 1.74-rated plays sealed a 19-17 Overtime win for the American organization.
Riders vs EF was a foregone conclusion, but that didn’t stop İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş from popping off as the Turkish superstar pulled off a 2.06-rated rampage on Vertigo and another solid performance on Overpass. EF won 16-9 on the first map and 16-5 on the second.
KSCERATO’s insane form continued as FURIA eliminated EG from the contest, beating their northerly neighbors 16-11 and 16-12 on Overpass and Nuke respectively. The Brazilian CS celebrity put up the best numbers on both matches, with an extra-special performance on the first map.
With the Group Stage done, stay tuned as we bring you coverage of the Playoffs.
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