Natus Vincere have booked a spot in the consolidation final of the BLAST Premier Global Final after posting a 2-0 victory over Liquid, taking revenge on the North American side for Wednesday’s defeat by the same scoreline. The maps were exactly the same as in that first match just three days ago, but NAVI looked a much more resolute side this time around, keeping their composure even when things were frantic in the closing stages.
Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev spearheaded the team’s spectacular Inferno comeback with an imperious display on the T side (1.89 rating), while Egor “flamie” Vasilyev led the charge on Nuke after coming on in between maps. The CIS giants seem to be improving after each match, but they will now face their biggest test yet in the form of Vitality in the consolidation final, with Astralis lying in wait in the tournament decider.
NAVI went into the match all guns blazing, storming to a 6-1 on the CT side of Inferno, Liquid‘s map choice. The North Americans then finally got a footing in the game, courtesy of a trio of frags by Michael “Grim” Wince and then a 1v2 clutch from Keith “NAF” Markovic in the following round, but NAVI picked up the pace in the final stages of the half and picked up a 9-6 lead, with Valeriy “B1T” Vakhovskiy leading the charge with 16 frags.
Liquid came out of the break looking lively and shut out NAVI six rounds in a row with a watertight defence. Things looked a bit concerning for the CIS giants, who were struggling to find openings and looked bereft of ideas, but then s1mple did what he normally does and pulled the team out of an adverse situation. After putting up 15 frags in the first 21 rounds of the game, he shifted into a higher year and racked up 18 kills in the following eight rounds to inspire NAVI’s comeback against a shellshocked Liquid side that could do nothing to stop the Ukrainian prodigy.
Nuke began with Liquid looking the brighter of the two sides, keeping the Terrorists at bay during the early stages for a 7-1 lead. NAVI responded with 3v5 clutches in back-to-back rounds, which changed the complexion of the game: The CIS team took control of proceedings after that and reduced the deficit to a solitary round before the break, with Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy raising eyebrows with multiple key frags.
NAVI carried that momentum into the second half and won six rounds in a row, bringing the scoreline to 13-8. They seemed on the brink of victory, but then a 1v3 clutch by Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski turned the game on its head and revitalised Liquid, who went on a dominant run, eventually taking the lead after clutching a 2v4 situation. NAVI would not let things get out of hand, however, and locked down the map after tightening up in the dying stages of the game.