G2 have earned a direct ticket to the IEM Cologne semi-finals after clinching a 2-1 victory against Gambit in a thrilling Group A upper bracket final series. Meanwhile, Virtus.pro have advanced to the tournament’s quarter-finals after eliminating BIG from the event on the back of two overtime triumphs in the group’s lower final.
The CIS side has completed an impressive recovery from a poor start to the tournament, in which Dzhami “Jame” Ali & co. conceded a narrow opening series to BIG and came within one round from elimination in their match against Complexity in the first round of the lower bracket.
Coming back from the dire situation, Virtus.pro went on to clinch a comfortable win over NIP before taking revenge on the German side in another close battle in the lower bracket final. It took overtime on each map for Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis‘s team to bring down BIG in their second affair at IEM Cologne, with the Latvian star leading from the vanguard to help his team turn a 6-13 deficit around on Inferno.
Over in the upper bracket final, G2 took Gambit by surprise with well-timed and consistent aggression on the defensive side of Mirage to put together a commanding performance on the opener. Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov‘s team replied in kind with a cruise on Vertigo but ended up coming short by the skin of their teeth on Inferno.
G2 looked in control after winning forcebuy wars on the decider until it was 13-8, when the CIS side began to mount a comeback. Nemanja “nexa” Isaković & co. withstood the pressure when it came to the last few rounds, managing a couple of close retakes before it all came down to Nikola “NiKo” Kovač‘s last-fraction-of-a-second 1v1 clutch in the 30th round.
“I’m really glad that we managed to overcome this mental barrier that we always had playing against Gambit, and always not being able to bring our A game,” nexa said on the broadcast following the nail-biting finish to the series, which saw G2 break their losing streak against the world’s best team with their first victory in five series this year.