Movistar Riders emerged as the winners of the ESL Challenger Melbourne 2023 on April 30 after beating out Bad News Eagles in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event’s grand final.
The Spanish lineup did not drop a single map in their victory run, snagging their first LAN trophy of the year. With the win, Movistar Riders will receive $50,000 out of the $100,000 prize pool in addition to a place in the ESL Pro League Season 18.
Bad News Eagles, the runners-up, received $20,000, while ECSTATIC and Grayhound got $10,000 out of the sum. Complexity and Rare Atom came in next at $3,000, with EG Black and VERTEX winning $2,000.
Movistar Riders’ game against Bad News Eagles was a rematch between the teams following the Spanish squad’s earlier win. While Bad News Eagles seemed to have shaken off the loss with wins over Grayhound and Rare Atom, the outcome was similar to the first match.
Movistar Riders won Bad News Eagles in two maps during their best of three, taking home the trophy. Alejandro “alex” Masanet performed amazingly during the match, recording the highest numbers and pushing his team to victory.
The player averaged a 1.30 rating, won six clutches, and recorded 78.2% KAST. Movistar Riders’ victory was also aided by the efforts of Alejandro “mopoz” Fernández-Quejo Cano and the squad’s in-game leader Antonio “Martinez” Martinez. The rifler’s efforts on the T side, in addition to Martinez’s lay with the AWP, powered the team to victory.
Movistar Riders were initially not part of the tournament and only joined four days before the event started. ESL invited the squad to compete following TheMongolz’s withdrawal from the event.
The team began their climb to the top in the group stage, where they snagged a victory from Rare Atom on Anubis. The close match extended to overtime before Movistar Riders managed to beat out Rare Atom.
Their next match-up was the first game against Bad News Eagles, where they beat out the team to win a place alongside Group B’s highest seed in the playoffs. Movistar moved up to the event’s semi-finals, pairing off with the Danish lineup ECSTATIC in their first best-of-three fixture.
Movistar Riders proved too much for the Danish squad despite their earlier win over Complexity, North America’s highest representatives in the tournament. The squad dealt out a clean sweep to ECSTATIC, securing a place in the event’s finals.
Movistar Rider’s victory has secured the squad their second ESL Challenger trophy following their first win in Valencia, Spain, last summer albeit with a different lineup. Rather than Pere “sausol” Solsona Saumell and Matinez, the previous squad consisted of Raúl “DeathZz” Jordán Nieto and Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia.
Movistar Rider’s next tournament is the ESL Challenger League Season 45 Europe, which will carry on for the next few weeks. They are also set to compete in ESL Pro League Season 18 between August 31 and October 1.