Virtus.pro have edged out Spirit in a narrow series to lock a spot in Group B’s lower bracket final. Dzhami “Jame” Ali‘s team are one match away from the playoffs and are set on a collision course with NIP in the final group stage match, which will take place on Sunday at 20:00 .
It was a hard-earned victory on Ancient that earned Virtus.pro their fourth consecutive victory against their regional rivals and pulled them through to the next round after the two teams exchanged their map picks, as the favorites came back from a 5-12 deficit following a difficult first half as Terrorists.
After the match, Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis was interviewed on the official broadcast and shared his thoughts on the newest addition to the map pool as well as on the removal Train, one of the team’s favorites. “I feel that our Train was way worse than our Ancient could be. I actually feel that Ancient is a pretty good map at the moment,” the Latvian star said. “It’s a great, refreshing map to play, I believe it’s a good map and it will be really popular at tournaments.”
Just like in the previous encounter between the two teams a week ago at EPIC League CIS, Spirit picked Dust2 and won the map for the fifth consecutive time in matches against their regional rivals dating back nearly twelve months.
An early lead saw Abdul “degster” Gasanov & co. seize control of the map as Virtus.pro kept running head-first into a wall on the B bombsite, and Spirit maintained the advantage as they switched over to the offense with a pistol round win. VP made a last-stand effort when they were down 6-13, with YEKINDAR stepping up with an ace on A after having been missing for the entire map, but it was too little, too late as Spirit claimed the series lead at 16-11.
Inferno followed as another map on which the two teams had faced each other often in recent times, with Jame‘s side having picked and won it in the last three series against Spirit and going four for four this time on the back of an excellent offense. A 12-3 first half gave VP a big enough cushion to withstand Spirit‘s charge at the beginning of the second half, and they forced the deciding Ancient at 16-9.
It came down to an overtime battle on the newly introduced map. Playing Ancient for the first time officially, both teams found it difficult to break through the defense. Spirit looked on course to a comfortable victory when they picked up a 10-5 half as CTs and added the second pistol round to their tally, but Virtus.pro answered in kind with a massive run of their own with a double-AWP setup and completed the comeback in overtime to send Spirit packing.