NIP are through to the upper bracket semi-finals in Flashpoint 3 with a 2-0 victory over FunPlus Phoenix. After the drama of the first-round series against Anonymo, the Ninjas produced a fine display against an opponent that was punished for their shallow map pool and that lost all pistol rounds. FunPlus Phoenix still attempted to respond on Inferno but squandered a map point in regulation and ended up losing the game in overtime.
“I think we are improving a lot every day and in every practice,” Fredrik “REZ” Sterner said after the match when asked to give an assessment of his team. “I’d put us in the top 10. In the near future, we can go much higher.”
NIP will still need to sharpen their act as they are on a collision course against the in-form G2, who will enter Sunday’s series in high spirits following a 2-1 victory over world No.3 Heroic. As for FunPlus Phoenix, they will fight for survival on Friday against Vitality.
The Swedish team went all guns blazing right from the off, cruising to an 8-0 lead on the T side of Mirage, their map pick. FunPlus Phoenix, who were chasing their first win on this map since October, tightened up and put some rounds together, with NIP picking up two late rounds to end the half on double digits.
The Ninjas showed no signs of slowing down after switching to the CT side, but FunPlus Phoenix opened up the floodgates once they had money to work with. They took the game to their opponents and enjoyed a spell of dominance, falling short in the end as NIP locked down the map with nothing but Desert Eagles after REZ had put the team on map point with a stellar quad-kill on the A site.
Inferno witnessed a strong start from NIP, who twice picked up a four-round lead, before FunPlus Phoenix took control of proceedings. The international team ended the half up by three, with Asger “Farlig” Jensen and Luka “emi” Vuković both making valuable contributions.
A trio of frags by Hampus “hampus” Poser in the pistol round kick-started a dominant period from the Ninjas, who went on a 6-0 run. FPX then finally found their footing in the half and even managed to hit map point, but the Ninjas stormed back to take the game to overtime, in which they would wrap things up after a chaotic second half.