After suffering a devastating defeat against Team Liquid in round two of ESL One Cologne 2019, Natus Vincere have fought their way to the top of the lower bracket to reach the quarter-finals.

NaVi’s road to the last eight was not an easy one. While they took care of FURIA with relative ease (2-0), the third-round match against mousesports on July 4 was a close one that could have gone either way.

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The series took off on Inferno with a fast start from NaVi, who ended the first half 11-4 ahead. They let down their guard in the second half, however, leaving the doors wide open for mousesports to make a comeback. A streak of strong rounds got mouz back on the horse as they managed to mirror NaVi’s first-half score to force overtime at 15-15. The rounds in extra time were closely contested, but it was the Russians who regained their rhythm to close out the map 22-19.

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Mousesports responded well on Dust II, blitzing the early rounds to take a 10-5 lead at the break. Six wins from nine rounds in the second half gave the Germans a 16-8 win to level the series and push it to a third map.

Talking about one-sided performances, Train was just that. After a disappointing display on Dust II, NaVi woke up and outplayed mousesports in all aspects. They won 9-6 in the first half and 7-3 in the second to seal the deal and go one step closer to the $125,000 grand prize which awaits the ESL One champion.

MVP of the match was NaVi star Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who walked away with an impressive 1.39 rating and a sore back after carrying his team through to the quarter-finals. The 21-year-old is now hoping to reach the semis and tee up a grudge match with his former employers, Team Liquid, against whom NaVi have some unfinished business.

“It does not matter who we face in the quarter-finals, the team I want to face is Liquid,” he said in an interview.

NaVi will play Ninjas in Pyjamas on Friday, July 5, for the right to face Team Liquid in the last four.

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