Liquid fall short in extended finals against Vitality
In a title fight on LAN that North American fans haven't seen since 2019, Liquid faced off against Vitality in a five-map nail biter to see who would come out on top in Malta. Despite incredible performances from the North American squad, the underdogs in Liquid ultimately fell short on Vertigo, dropping the series 2-3 to the French organization.
Starting out on Liquid's pick of Inferno, the squad won the opening pistol and literally did not look back as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Vitality knew what hit them. Despite the valiant efforts from the Europeans, they could do nothing to stop the dominant T-side from the Americans as they closed out the half 10-5. With Liquid heading to their favored CT-side, they simply just had to clean up shop as they would close it out 16-7.
Now it was time for Vitality to feel more comfortable as they would finally get to their map pick of Dust2. Despite Liquid's heroics on the map yesterday against Cloud9, things did not start out in the same way. Even though they would win the pistol, they would end up losing the first gun round and they would be unable to stymie the European as they were rolled 6-9 on their CT-side. Any hope that things would change in the second was quickly crushed. A pistol round loss and everything just came up Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut as they would lose the map 16-7.
Finally, we come back to Liquid's pick of Mirage. Known to be an NA staple, there was hope that the squad would be able to regain their map advantage. That hope was the NA hopium we all love to be a part of, but was not part of reality. Liquid simply looked ineffective on their T-side. They would lose the pistol and simply not get anything going to a 4-11 half.
However, a sturdy CT-side held strong through repeated Vitality attacks, and despite a loss to Vitality's half-buy, Liquid made zonic's law a reality and struck back with an 11-4 half of their own, sending us into overtime. With such a CT-sided affair, you'd think that the winner would be the first to pull together a T-side round. Vitality did just that, posting one on their offensive, but Liquid equaled out that scoreline throwing us into a second overtime.
On Liquid's second attacking attempt, they even surpassed their previous, taking two T-sided rounds out of three. Yet, ZywOo's incredible AWPing prowess struck back once more, matching Liquid's two rounds on the offensive. Yet again starting an overtime, Liquid were done playing games, rocketing to a huge lead taking all three rounds and giving themselves three chances to bring Mirage home.
The first round of Liquid's fourth T-side of the game, thankfully, ended the stalemate with a phenomenal victory with the American side edging out Vitality narrowly at a final score of 25-21. The only thing keeping the French-Danish squad in the game the whole time was their star AWPer, with ZywOo dropping an immaculate 51 kills for a 1.53 rating.
With Vitality needing to win two maps in a row to come away with the grand final, we moved on to Overpass, Vitality's map pick. They quickly got onto an advantage, taking the pistol and the following four before Liquid put together a CT round. However, when they got into gear, Liquid started rolling, answering with six rounds of their own. The remaining rounds went tit for tat as Liquid ended their CT-side with a narrow 8-7 victory.
Vitality took over the second-half pistol, but Liquid's T-side stole the conversion and went on a few of their own, picking up four valuable T-side rounds. The next run of the CT-side was the ZywOo special, with the Frenchman shutting down all of Liquid's efforts for another four rounds, tying up the scoreline at twelve apiece. However, Liquid was able to shut down the Woo the next couple of rounds, but a crucial half-buy victory from Vitality brought Liquid's lead to just one, and the fallout brought Vitality all the way to fifteen. Liquid won round thirty by the skin of their teeth, taking us to the fourth overtime of the series.
This overtime, however, was brief, as Vitality quickly ran away with their CT-side, taking all three without much sweat. A superb hold from Keith "NAF" Markovic gave Liquid their first CT round in overtime, and then a clutch from the Canadian brought Liquid their second OT round. Unfortunately for the North American team, their CT endeavors ended there as a clean round from Vitality ended Overpass 19-17 in favor of the Europeans, forcing the fifth and final map.
The final map, Vertigo, started off as a complete rout for Liquid, with the North Americans losing the first eight rounds in a row on their T-side before getting on the board. Despite looking out of their depth on the opening half of Vertigo, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski ended up with a respectable 5-10 round deficit. On their CT-side, Liquid started to find their footing, finding their way to eleven rounds and threatening Vitality's hold on Vertigo.
Unfortunately despite it all, Liquid began to stumble in the late rounds, allowing Vitality to take the map off the back of one last massive performance from Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis||116 - 113||+3||84.0||67.1%||1.14|
|Keith 'NAF' Markovic||110 - 100||+10||83.0||72.3%||1.14|
|Josh 'oSee' Ohm||113 - 100||+13||71.2||74.8%||1.09|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannella||87 - 107||-20||66.2||69.0%||0.87|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski||82 - 112||-30||58.6||63.9%||0.78|
|Vitality||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut||143 - 93||+50||91.7||73.5%||1.39|
|Emil 'Magisk' Reif||108 - 104||+4||80.9||75.5%||1.13|
|Lotan 'Spinx' Giladi||96 - 105||-9||71.3||63.9%||0.99|
|Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen||95 - 98||-3||60.6||68.4%||0.93|
|Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire||88 - 110||-22||67.8||63.9%||0.86|