FURIA are through to Sunday’s ESL One: Road to Rio – North America final after taking down Liquid in a nail-biting two-map series.
The Brazilian team put up another strong display to dispatch Liquid, a team they had already defeated in the group stage by the same scoreline. This time around, FURIA were made to work harder to come out on top, and they have Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato to thank for winning the series in just two maps as the Brazilian hot-shot – who continues to lead the tournament’s rating charts and is without a doubt one of the most in-form players in the world right now – pulled off a key clutch to stop Liquid as they were about to win Overpass with a massive comeback from 3-12 down.
Vertigo was a keenly-contested affair from the offset, though FURIA were on the front foot for the majority of the game. They are now 3-1 in series against Liquid and remain undefeated in this Road to Rio, but overconfidence could spell doom as they are about to face Gen.G – a team they have yet to beat after two attempts.
FURIA got off to a flying start on Overpass, Liquid’s map pick, and quickly began to build a commanding lead after losing the pistol round. The North Americans went through a dry spell as they looked bereft of ideas and kept losing all aim duels, ultimately picking up just two gun rounds as the Brazilians ran wild on the CT side, with KSCERATO and Yuri “yuurih” Santos averaging over 100 damage per round and combining for 32 frags in the half.
The second half began with a spectacular 2v4 retake from Keith “NAF” Markovic and Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken to deny FURIA a potential game-winning pistol round. That was the start of a dominant period from Liquid, who kept a water-tight defense and won 11 consecutive rounds to get within touching distance of victory.
FURIA needed a moment of inspiration to break down Liquid’s defense and it came from KSCERATO, who pulled off a massive 1v3 clutch to rescue his team from the jaws of defeat. That one individual action instilled confidence and belief in the Brazilian players, who would go on to win the remaining rounds en route to a 16-14 victory.
Vertigo started in the same manner as the previous map, with Liquid taking the pistol round but not managing to win the next one. The North Americans struggled to find a footing in the game as any round that they won was immediately traded back by their opponents, but they tightened up and gradually took the upper hand to finish the half up by one.
Liquid’s momentum was then halted as FURIA came out the brighter of the two sides after the break, stringing three rounds together. The North Americans responded in kind to reclaim the lead, but the rest of the half was dominated by FURIA, with yuurih and KSCERATO serving the finishing blows with quad-kills in the final two rounds.