G2 have secured a playoff berth at IEM Winter after besting Liquid in a two-map series in the upper bracket semi-final, taking the North American team’s map pick of Vertigo before coming back from a deficit in the second half of Dust2.
The win sets Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and company up against Vitality in Group A’s upper bracket final, where the winner will advance directly to the playoff semi-final, and the losing team will start their bracket run in the quarter-final.
A much tougher test awaits Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen‘s side in their next lower bracket match as they are set to face NIP, who beat Astralis in their opening match before falling to Vitality in a rather one-sided series.
A pistol win allowed Liquid three early rounds to kick off Vertigo, but G2 were quick to respond off the back of multi-kills from NiKo, momentum which they converted into edging out an 8-7 lead at halftime. G2 further extended their edge by five rounds after the break, before Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač put a firm halt to a comeback effort from Liquid, scoring a quad kill with a solo AK buy to take the map over the line for his side.
Dust2 got off to a similar start as G2 responded to an early string of rounds from Liquid, going up 5-2. This time around though, Liquid gained the upper hand and went on a tear, winning ten of the ensuing eleven rounds for a dominant 12-6 lead. However, that still wasn’t enough to secure victory as G2 battled back with eight in a row to tie the match, before outlasting Liquid in the closing moments to take a 16-14 map win.
OG made short work of TYLOO in their series, racing to a 6-0 start on the CT side of Mirage. The Chinese team answered back with four rounds of their own, helped in part by an ace from Zhenghao “DANK1NG” Lv, but were left trailing in the latter moments of the map as OG kept up the pressure before closing things out, 16-10.
TYLOO‘s woes continued on Inferno, although they kept the scoreline closer at the start of the first half and even held a brief lead, 7-5, before OG pulled ahead at the break. Hopes of forcing a third map by YuLun “Summer” Cai‘s side were swiftly crushed shortly after the side swap as OG once again took control and didn’t relent, conceding just three rounds en route to a 2-0 series finish.
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