The no.1 CS:GO esports side in the world, Team Liquid, had to admit defeat to North in the first round of group games at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals.
The tournament kicked off Tuesday in Montpellier, France, featuring 16 teams split into eight pairs for Bo1 matches. Upsets were expected with some of the best teams in the world going against lower-ranked opponents, but few would have tipped such a significant boilover on the opening day.
While North are ranked no.8 in the world and played well in the recent Europe Minor qualifiers, the Danes were long shots to win their first-up clash with the top side. Team Liquid have become a regular fixture in finals matches in 2019 and come into this event fresh off a win at DreamHack Masters Dallas, so they were tagged as clear favourites.
The match took place on Dust2, a map both sides know very well. As expected, Team Liquid started off strong and soon found themselves in a 4-1 lead. However, that soon changed.
Leading the attack was Philip “aizy” Aistrup, who stepped up for the Danes with a triple to get his team back into the game. That gave North a huge confidence boost. They strengthened their defence and managed to pull up an impressive comeback, getting themselves in a 10-5 lead by the end of the first half.
With the match slipping away, Team Liquid managed to muster up a comeback and closed the gap to a couple of rounds. It looked like extra time was on the way, but that was not to be the case as North held on for a 16-13 win.
The victors now head to the second round for a clash with FaZe Clan, who bested TYLOO with a 16-12 win on Vertigo. Liquid will face TYLOO in the lower bracket.
The MVP of the match was North’s Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså, who achieved a 1.43 HLTV rating.