Liquid secured their second victory of the ESL Pro League Season 16 group stage with a comfortable 2-0 win over their North American compatriots, Evil Geniuses. Nick “nitr0” Cannella and company dominated all series long, brushing aside their foes 16-7 on Inferno before closing things out with an equally dominant 16-8 showing on Dust2.
Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis continues to be a valuable asset for the Liquid squad, with the Latvian import sitting at the top of the scoreboard with 43 kills and a 1.51 rating. Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte had a strong performance on Dust2 despite the overpowering loss, putting up 22 kills whilst also being the only member of his team with an above average rating (1.05).
YEKINDAR proved too much for Evil Geniuses to handle with a 1.51 rating across the series
The action began on Evil Geniuses‘ pick of Inferno, with the two teams exchanging streaks of rounds to start the map four rounds apiece. Liquid were able to pull ahead from this stalemate as the opening half progressed, however, adding six out of the next seven rounds to lock in a 10-5 lead by the switch. Josh “oSee” Ohm, YEKINDAR, and Keith “NAF” Markovic were the difference-makers for their team, combining for 44 kills by the end of their defensive effort.
Liquid didn’t let off the gas at the onset of the second half, with nitr0‘s men going on a five-round streak thanks to well-executed site hits to surge ahead and reach match-point, 15-5. Double kills by Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov and Brehze in the 21st round were enough to get Evil Geniuses back on the board, but this did little to deter Liquid from stealing the lone round they needed to take Inferno 16-7 and send the series to their pick of Dust2.
Evil Geniuses jumped out to an early lead once Dust2 rolled around, going 6-2 to start their CT-side on the back of strong site holds and clinical retakes. Liquid slowly began to turn the map on its head, though, wrestling control of the economy as they picked up six rounds against limited Evil Geniuses resistance to post an 8-7 lead by the half’s end.
Liquid immediately overturned an Evil Geniuses pistol-round victory to get the second half underway, using this momentum to extend their lead to 13-8. Evil Geniuses continued to look disjointed despite a tactical timeout being called in the 22nd round, with a deadly double AWP setup by Liquid repeatedly paying dividends as they soon locked in Dust2 16-8 to go 2-0 in Malta.
Evil Geniuses‘ hunt for their first win since ESL Pro League Season 13 continues, with the North American side going up against Eternal Fire on Friday at 16:00 . Liquid, meanwhile, will look to extend their unbeaten run in Malta even further as they face off versus FURIA on Friday at 19:30 . The last time the two teams met was at IEM Cologne, where the American-majority squad narrowly came out ahead after two laborious maps.