Astralis to Pro League semi-finals over Liquid

Astralis won a three map series against Liquid to secure a spot in the semi-finals, meaning the North Americans will have to start their playoff run in the quarter-finals.

 

Liquid and Astralis went up against each other in a rematch of the ECS Season 8 Finals grand final, albeit this time it was in a lesser match, the Group B upper bracket final, where the two unbeaten teams who had already made it past the group stage fought for a semi-final seed in the playoffs.

 

Astralis and Liquid kicked off the Group B upper bracket final on Inferno, the North American team’s pick. They were able to take the first round cleanly, with four kills and a bomb plant, but Astralis took an equally clean pistol buy with five Desert Eagle frags, to tie it 1-1. The Danes then controlled the early game, before a back-and-forth ensued, with the two teams going 6-6, although they were finally able to grab hold of the game late in the half to go to the switch with a 9-6 lead.

 

Liquid took the second pistol round and dominated the first four rounds on the CT side to take a 10-9 lead, although Astralis tied it right back up. A fruitful A defense by Nick "nitr0" Cannella and Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski kept the Americans in the lead. Down 12-13, Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen got three crucial kills in a 2vs4 retake to tie it back up as the first map went into the final stretch. Astralis retook the lead against pistols, but they weren’t able to close it out as Liquid.

The match then moved to Nuke, where Astralis were quick to take a 3-0 lead on the attacking side ahead of the first gun round. The Danes didn’t give up and relentless attacks kept Liquid at bay all half long, with Emil "Magisk" Reif tallying a couple of fo clutches to take an ample 11-4 as Terrorists. Astralis took the second pistol round, and although Liquid managed to sneak in three rounds after the first forcebuy to try and make a map of it, the Danes quickly shut them down, 16-7, to force a third map.

Astralis won a 1vs2 on the A site of Dust2 to defuse the bomb and win the pistol round, but doubles by Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken and EliGE on the forcebuy brought it back even. Liquid marched ahead, 6-2, but a three-kill hold on B by dupreeh kept his team in it early on. Putting Liquid in a tough spot economically, the Danes were able to bring it to a tie, 6-6, although a last push by Liquid put the American side ahead 6-9.

 

The second half started with two early trades leaving a 3vs3 with more than a minute on the round, but a failed fake B attempt with little time on the clock worked aganist Astralis as Liquid hit double digits. Despite the early pistol win, Astralis quickly took the reins on the attacking side, winning the forcebuy and the two following to keep it within one, although Liquid weren’t ready to give up their lead quite yet as nitr0 got a triple to make it 11-9. Despite the blunder, the match was soon tied again, 11-11.

 

Astralis were able to take the lead late in the decider map, 14-12, and although Liquid didn’t let up and made it to 13, they subsequently gave up match point. A flank by Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth in a 2vs3 afterplant on A ended it the next round, 16-13, as Astralis clenched a spot in the semis.

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