OG secured a spot in the Group B final of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2023 tournament by defeating Liquid 2-1 in the Lower Bracket Final, securing a spot at the group’s Grand Final.
The European squad, led by Nemanja “nexa” Isakovic, emerged victorious over their North American counterpart. They claimed victory in Mirage (16-12) and Overpass (16-10) and lost the second map Ancient (8-16) to Liquid.
The franchise will now go head to head with FaZe Clan in a rematch for a spot at the Spring Final. This is the second win for OG over Liquid, who they had previously defeated in their opening match of the tournament with a 2-0 score, as Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella and the lads failed to effect a successful revenge. GG.BET designates FaZe as heavy favorites with set odds of $1.46 and OG pegged at $2.68 for the January 26 scheduled Group B Grand Final fixture.
Meanwhile, Liquid have been matched to play against BIG on Friday, January 27 at 17:30 GMT, in the first round of the Play-In Stage, with the winner progressing to a second round Spring Final qualifying series against the losing team from the Group A final between Vitality and Heroic. Liquid are the preferred choice according to top esports betting sites, as GG.BET assigns winning odds of $1.38 to the North American franchise as opposed to their European counterpart’s $3.00 odds.
The first map of the match, Mirage, was chosen by Liquid as their pick. Despite the franchise kicking off the map on a high note by winning the opening pistol round with a quad kill on bombsite A from Mareks “YEKINDAR” Galinskis.
OG were able to mount a comeback led by Abdul “degster” Gasanov who had a spectacular ACE on the B bombsite, reacting to Liquid’s early 4-0 lead. OG managed to secure seven consecutive rounds on defense. However, Liquid responded by taking three rounds before the end of the half, in a bid to reduce the deficit to a minimum as they headed into the side swap. The first half of the map ended in an 8-7 scoreline with a round differential in favor of OG.
During the second half of the match, OG managed to win the pistol round and used that to secure four consecutive rounds, further increasing their lead with a statline of 12-7. Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski had secured a 1v2 clutch to aid the team in their quest to win the map. However, Liquid began to string together round wins on defense, and it seemed as though they were on the path to victory.
OG’s rifler, Maciej “F1KU” Miklas stepped up, registering a standout performance on an eco round and managed to successfully recover a 3v5 situation with a triple kill and 1vs2 clutch, denying Liquid the opportunity to tie the game. OG capitalized on this opportunity and secured the win just two rounds later, giving them a significant advantage heading into their map pick of Ancient.
On the second map of the matchup, Ancient, OG started off well by recovering from a loss in the pistol round with a force-buy, due to a triple kill from Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar. Doubling down on their recovery, Shahar “FlameZ” Shushan took the game by the horn and led the team to a 5-2 lead.
However, Liquid were able to avoid a blowout, owing to strong defensive plays from nitr0, EliGE, and YEKINDAR. OG were able to add two more rounds to their score towards the end of the half with NEOFRAG posting a double entry kill and FlameZ recording a quad kill on the bombsite B, but that was all they could achieve as Liquid managed to pull ahead by a narrow margin, 8-7, heading into the halftime break.
The second half went in a different direction as Liquid quickly took control of the game and blew out their opponent with an 8-1 statline by the end of the half. The map ended with Liquid winning the game with a 50% differential, totaling a 16-8 scoreline.
The match ultimately came down to the decider on Overpass. OG secured a pistol-round victory at the start of the map, which gave them an early lead on the T side. Despite the lead changing hands multiple times during the early stages, OG were able to regain control and went on to beat their opponent in both halves of the map, securing a total score of 16-10.
While Liquid will likely be regretful for not capitalizing on the advantageous situations they had throughout the series, specifically on Mirage. The team are now two best-of-three series away from securing a spot in the Spring Final. A defeat will see them placed in the Showdown, and as such, both games are must-win matches if the North American franchise are to make it to the Spring Finals main event.
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