The third day was short and sweet while the fourth was a little longer, but both delivered plenty of excitement
The last two days in Malta have been thoroughly exciting, with Group C heating up. One team has already qualified for the playoffs, while a couple of teams have gotten the boot from the tournament after crashing out of the Lower Bracket. With the teams set for a final day of action that will reveal the exact seeding of the teams going into the Playoffs, we’ll take a look at the last couple of days’ matches in case any of you missed out.
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group C Day 3 Matches
Only two matches took place on Day 3, with paiN Gaming taking on OG and NIP meeting Grayhound Gaming on the battlefield, both in the Mid Bracket.
paiN Gaming vs OG
It wasn’t much of a surprise to anyone when OG had a disappointing game against a dominant-looking Vitality, but considering their victory against 00 Nation, most people expected them to move past paiN Gaming. The Brazilian side had lost to an unconvincing NIP before taking out the much weaker Roosters, but OG seemed to just be a little too far above their pay grade. However, given OG’s substitute situation, anything was possible.
On paiN’s map Vertigo, the Brazilians showed plenty of power on their attack to climb to a commanding 11 before the switch. Afterwards, however, OG scared the bejesus out of them with a fantastic T-side of their own, coming agonizingly close to tying the game up and forcing Overtime before losing 16-14. Maciej “F1KU” Miklas was incredible for OG, but Felipe “skullz” Medeiros’ performance had more impact.
On to OG’s pick Overpass, the first half was a trade of clumps of rounds, with the score going from 4-0 to 4-3 to 8-3 to 8-7 in favor of paiN. Sadly for the Brazilians, that was all they would get as OG thumped them on the CT-side. paiN were unable to pick up a single round on their attack, and OG won 16-8. Shahar “flameZ” Shushan topped the charts, but he had great help from the trio of Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov, Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar and the stand-in Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen.
By the time Inferno rolled around, most people thought OG had come into their groove and would knock the Brazilians out. paiN, with an excellent 9-round haul on their T-side, thought otherwise. They dominated OG on the T-side, and although the Europeans recovered and threatened to win outright on their own attacking half, the South Americans were able to bring it back from 14-12 to win 14-16, sealing the series. skullz was once again the main man for paiN, with a great hand from Rodrigo “biguzera” Bittencourt.
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Grayhound Gaming
The Ninjas had been pretty solid against paiN, but any ignited hopes had been extinguished by a thrashing from FaZe Clan. Now NIP would have to pick up the pieces against an Australian side that had shocked Brazil’s 00 Nation. Grayhound had undoubtedly pulled off an upset with their win, but NIP was a whole other ball game, and the Aussies would need something truly special to defeat the seasoned Swedes.
Not everyone was convinced when Grayhound picked Ancient as even though they’d beaten 00 Nation on it, NIP were a different beast. As it turned out, the doubters were right as the Aussies were quickly down 10-0 before they made a dent. That dent was doubled before the half ended, but it took no time for NIP to squash any remaining hopes the Aussies had, with the Swedes winning 16-2 courtesy of insane performances from Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke and Danyyl “headtr1ck” Valitov.
Onto NIP’s map Vertigo, though, the T-side weaknesses of the Swedes became apparent as Grayhound relegated them to a mere 4 rounds on the attack. NIP made a pretty good start to their CT-side, but the Aussies completed the upset with a 16-9 scoreline. Rookie sensation Declan “Vexite” Portelli was great, but it was old faithful Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas who rocked the show with some spicy shots and sprays.
Next up was the decisive Mirage, and NIP were starting on the T-side. The swedes struggled early on, but came back very strongly to take an 8-7 advantage into half time. Despite a few early rounds on the defense, however, the Swedes seemed lost, and quickly lost the game 16-12 to fall down into elimination territory. Once again, Vexite and Liazz were the men who led the Aussies to an improbable, outstanding victory.
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group C Day 4 Matches
Day 4 stepped things up with 3 matches. The day began with Rooster locking horns with 00 Nation in the Lower Bracket before paiN Gaming and Grayhound Gaming met for the Mid Bracket Final. The final match of the day saw unlikely Lower Bracket teams OG and Ninjas in Pyjamas facing off.
Rooster vs 00 Nation
Rooster were looking utterly helpless, unable to pick up a single map from the first two days of play. They were clearly outclassed and in over their heads, but 00 Nation’s awful form was something that could perhaps still be exploited. The Brazilians had been a total mess themselves, losing to Grayhound in their most recent match and being forced to fight their way out of the worst possible situation.
Rooster’s pick of Anubis saw the Aussies manage a virtually unforeseen 12-3 half on the map’s weaker CT-side, with 00 Nation barely able to get anything out of their attacks. Once switched, the Aussies were quick to dispatch the Brazilians in a shocking 16-3 massacre. Tyson “asap” Paterson was in ridiculous form with an HLTV rating of 2.28 for the map, while Akram “ADK” Smida and Tynan “TjP” Purtell helped out greatly.
Moving on to 00 Nation’s pick Inferno, Rooster were on fire once again as they repeated their feat on Anubis to pull off an incredible 12-3 half on the attack. However, they may have gotten complacent from all this success, and this time 00 Nation weren’t about to let it go without a fight. The South Americans pulled off attack after attack, execution after execution and came back to take the map 16-14, leveling the series. Eduardo “dumau” Wolkmer and Lucas “nqz” Soares made this possible with some commendable gameplay.
One more decider, one more Mirage. Rooster had a poor start to their attacking side, going down 7-0 before they could answer back, but they managed to recover to a 9-6 half. Their defense also began very well, with like 00 Nation before them, they failed to contain the attacking side once the latter got going. In the end, the Brazilians won 16-12 to secure the series with Marcelo “coldzera” David’s 24 kills leading the charge with Leonardo “n9xtz” Santos close behind.
paiN Gaming vs Grayhound Gaming
It was a fantastic opportunity for either Brazil to register a second team in the Playoffs, or Australia to register their first in a very long time. Both these teams had punched above their weight to get to this point, and both knew that a rematch against any of their slain enemies in the Lower Bracket might not go in their favor. This was their best chance of qualifying, and considering their relatively similar chaotic styles of play, it would come down to individual performances.
Once again, an Aussie team’s T-side on their map Inferno began very well. However, paiN came prepared and managed to strike late in the half to go into the swap just one round behind. Sadly for them, their T-side was toothless, and Grayhound dominated to close their map 16-7. Simon “Sico” Williams, Joshua “INS” Potter and Declan “Vexite” Portelli were all superb for the winning side.
The first half of paiN’s Nuke seemed to be made up of two halves, with the Brazilians taking the first 7 rounds only to witness the Aussies bounce back to take 8 straight rounds for an almost even half. Sadly for the underdogs from Down Under, they could only get a meager 4 on the T-side as they lost 16-12. Once again it was Rodrigo “biguzera” Bittencourt who helped the South Americans along, with INS also pulling off a valiant performance on the other side.
For once, the decisive map between two teams was Anubis, and paiN took full advantage of starting on the T-side to book themselves 11 rounds. Grayhound fought tooth and nail, but their margin for error was too low, and they ended up losing 16-12 once again for a 2-1 series defeat. Felipe “skullz” Medeiros stepped up for the umpteenth time at this tournament for paiN, and Romeu “zevy” Rocco lent an important hand alongside biguzera.
OG vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
No one could have predicted that OG and NIP would meet in the Semifinal of the Lower Bracket, but here they were. The two teams had been through hell, and their performances were still patchy and choppy. While NIP had gotten used to being mediocre, this was a big blow to OG’s rising self-esteem, and a loss here would be crushing for their young stars.
The Ninjas couldn’t quite justify their choice of Vertigo as they only managed five rounds on the T-side half despite taking the Pistol Round and the two subsequent rounds. However, what they couldn’t do on the attack, they made up for on the defense. OG could only take one round as Terrorists, and looked hapless without their intelligent leader. The game ended 16-11 in NIP’s favor, with Shahar “flameZ” Shushan’s performance being nullified by the one from Danyyl “headtr1ck” Valitov.
The final map of the day, OG’s Mirage, was something special. OG took regular rounds on the attack to pile up a strong 9-round claim on the map, but despite a decent start on the CT-side, they couldn’t close the game out in time and watched as NIP evened up the score to initiate Overtime. Once in extended play, things remained even during the first bout, but in the second OT, NIP took it all straight up to eliminate OG. A fantastic turn by OG AWPer Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov fell short as Fredrik “REZ” Sterner and headtr1ck ruled.
Join us again tomorrow for one more recap of Group C, and keep your eyes on the site because we’ll be revamping our preview and recaps in time for Group D.