The Group A champions defeated MOUZ 2-1 in their first Pro League match in nearly a month to advance to the semi-finals. The Russian squad struggled on the CT side of Inferno and got off to a 0-1 count, but turned the series around on their Vertigo choice before a crushing attack on Mirage sealed the deal in their favor.
The two teams last met at the IEM Rio Major, where David “frozen” Čerňanský and company defeated the Russians at the Jeunesse Arena, but this time it was Cloud9 who ended their opponents’ playoff run in Malta. “It’s always fun to get revenge on a team that threw you out at the Major,” Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov stated after the game.
Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov savaged MOUZ early on the European team’s pick of Inferno after falling down 1-3 by losing the second round forcebuy, allowing his team achieve a 3-3 draw and a further 6-3 lead. Frozen responded with a quad kill to make it 4-6 at the ten-round mark, but the score did not change in his team’s favor, as they trailed 6-9 at the break.
MOUZ brought it back to 9-9 by securing the three first CT rounds, and despite one successful attack, Cloud9 was completely deflated on the attack as Christopher “dexter” Nong and his men didn’t miss a beat to close the map out comfortably, winning ten of the eleven rounds played in the second half to hit 16-10.
MOUZ picked up the pistol round on Vertigo, but Abay “HObbit” Khassenov made a crucial 1vs2 clutch to make it 2-1 in his team’s favor as the two were once again tangled in a 3-3 start. The series’ streaky nature continued as MOUZ tightened down with proactive rounds, flanking and pushing their way to an 8-3 victory.
Cloud9 established an 11-8 lead before MOUZ could retaliate during a pistol purchase after securing a vital pistol round to settle onto the defense side on their selection. Back-and-forth rounds continued until the Russians ultimately gained control of the defense, forcing a decider, 16-11.
The final map of the series differed from the previous two in that it was a one-sided affair from the start, with Cloud9 jumping out to a 6-0 lead and MOUZ’s opening round being answered with another onslaught of successful strikes. Finally, the CTs saved the final three rounds to bring the score 4-11.
MOUZ’s saving grace in many instances throughout the series, frozen, downed three in the second pistol round, allowing his comeback hopes to come true. Six rounds in and with none to Cloud9’s name, Timur “buster” Tulepov won a vital 1vs2 that pulled his side back on the scoreboard. MOUZ responded, but to no use, as Cloud9 rediscovered their groove and cruised to a 16-10 victory.
Cloud9 will sit Friday out while the remainder of quarter-finals are played, after which they will go up against the victor of ENCE vs. Vitality on Saturday for a spot in the Pro League grand final.
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