In the first-ever encounter between the two lineups, Virtus.pro have defeated Astralis 2-1 to secure their berth in the IEM Katowice semi-finals, in which the CIS side will face Liquid on Saturday at 18:30 . Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis was the difference maker in the match, as he recorded a 1.37 rating and 99.2 ADR over the course of the series on the back of carry performances on Overpass and Inferno.
Having had plenty of success on the map throughout the tournament with three consecutive wins, Virtus.pro opted for Overpass as the opener and added a fourth to that list on the back of a dominant start on the Terrorist side. YEKINDAR was finding openings wherever he went, which left Astralis with no answers in the first seven rounds, and as the first half approached the closing stages the Danes struggled for momentum, clinching only four rounds.
YEKINDAR’s solo quad-kill helped tip Inferno in Virtus.pro’s favor
Success finally came when sides switched after Nicolai “device” Reedtz won a 1v1 clutch in the pistol round and Astralis got within three rounds of their opponents. The streak quickly came to a halt when Virtus.pro found early-round advantages, however, and the CIS squad went on to close the first half with the help of a 1v2 clutch from Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev and a solo quad-kill from YEKINDAR.
Train saw Astralis get off to a much better start with five consecutive rounds on the offense after surviving a dangerous antiforcebuy. Virtus.pro didn’t take long to recover and even took the lead after retaking the B bombsite over and over, before the Danish side switched it up and got away with a one-round lead by halftime.
With a second pistol in the bag, Astralis reached double digits but got broken immediately, as YEKINDAR‘s consecutive double entries gave Virtus.pro easy access to the A bombsite to equalize things and build up a massive economic advantage. Tightening up their defense, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander‘s side slowly chipped away at their opponents’ bank until there was none left, which allowed the Danes to force the deciding map at 16-12.
Little separated the two teams on Inferno at first when the two sides stole rounds from one another off individual plays, with YEKINDAR, Alexey “qikert” Golubev, Timur “buster” Tulepov and Emil “Magisk” Reif all stepping up with big multikills. Astralis pulled away to lead 7-3 after several attacks towards A saw them get the advantage and force VP to save guns repeatedly, until Dzhami “Jame” Ali stepped up to the plate with a triple and YEKINDAR added another to make it an even game.
After switching over to the defense, Astralis hoped to retain their small advantage after winning a second-round forcebuy, but another massive play from YEKINDAR stopped them in their tracks and Virtus.pro never looked back. Only two more rounds went the other way, one courtesy of a gla1ve clutch, as VP managed to keep Astralis low on money when it mattered to close the series 16-11, 2-1.