Gambit are through to the semi-final stage of ESL Pro League 13 following a two-map victory over Astralis, who will have to fight for survival on Friday against FURIA. The CIS side’s sixth straight win of the tournament was decorated by an imperious display from Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov, who put in a 2.27 rating – the second-highest of his career – to power his team to an easy victory on Overpass. Inferno was a tit-for-tat affair for the most part, but uncharacteristic slip-ups late in the second half saw Astralis cede control over to their opponents.
“It was a typical day for Ax1Le, he’s killing it every time,” Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov said after the match. “I’d like to say thanks to my teammates. I was a bit stressed on Inferno, but nafany’s calls were really great. I didn’t expect us to win Inferno. I had lost a lot of Inferno games to Astralis. It’s hard to play against them on this map.”
Astralis picked up an early lead on Overpass, but it all fell apart for the Danes from there as Gambit responded immediately on a force-buy and took control of proceedings. The CIS team tore Astralis‘ defence apart in an 11-4 rout, with Ax1Le leading the charge with 21 frags and a stunning 153 ADR.
The 18-year-old added to his tally with a trio of frags in the following pistol round to fire Gambit further into the lead and pile even more misery on Astralis, who began to put some rounds together once they had money in the bank. Their resistance didn’t last long, however, and the red-hot Russians soon laid the game to rest.
The early stages of Inferno belonged to Gambit, who kept Astralis at bay with a tight defence, shutting down any chances of their opponents gaining a foothold in the game. The Danes then enjoyed a spell of dominance and went on an 8-1 run, but their hopes of taking the series to a third map were quashed when they lost two rounds that appeared to be under control (a 5v2 and a 4v2). Gambit built on that momentum, bringing Astralis‘ economy to a crawl, and locked down the map in quick fashion.