Fnatic defeated Eternal Fire 2-1 to earn a spot in the lower final for ESL Pro League Season 17’s Group A. After taking the risk of allowing Anubis to remain unbanned in the veto, the winners had a rough start to the series, but they were able to rally and win on Overpass and Nuke to secure their victory. The last time Keita’s team met the Turks was at the Road to Rio European Final, where the Europeans prevailed in a 2-2 tie to deprive the Turks their final opportunity to advance to the Major.
The winners guaranteed their position in the lower bracket final.. In the meanwhile, if Eternal Fire wants to advance to the knockout round, they will need to endure the rigors of the Last Chance bracket and triumph in two straight best-of-three matchups.
Not only fans, but also MAJ3R were taken aback by fnatic’s stunning choice to uphold the veto and keep Anubis unbanned: “I was taken aback by their veto because they left Anubis unbanned. I believe they have a strategy, but we’ll have to wait and see what the server reveals.” The in-game was correct to be shocked because fnatic had never chosen Anubis in a series before and had done so against a team that had played the map 13 matches this year with a 61.5% winning percentage.
Their decision quickly backfired as fnatic gave up the opening pistol round and the early advantage to the opponents. Despite having 1.63 and 1.48 ratings in the first half, respectively, mezii and roeJ did not perform well enough to significantly outperform Eternal Fire. A 7-8 defensive half was endured by the Turkish team before they switched to their favorite T side.
After switching sides, Eternal Fire remained fired up and celebrated each of their round victories until regaining the lead and ending the first map 16-11 with a hit on the B site. The offensive’s star performers were xfl0ud and imoRR, although IGL MAJ3R wasn’t far behind.
In order to balance out the series and grab momentum away from their rivals, fnatic entered their pick of Overpass. After a sluggish start in the pistol round, the European dominance in their T half suddenly took over as roeJ and FASHR started to shoot at full strength, defeating Eternal Fire in seven straight rounds. A 5-10 score was saved by MAJ3R and company late in the half, but they appeared disoriented before the break.
The mezii-led team won the first pistol round of the map, but failed to score in the following, wrecking their CT economy and allowing Eternal Fire to win consecutive rounds to close the gap to 10-11. Fnatic stopped Eternal Fire’s attack and closed the map 16-11, keeping FASHR in first place. In this map, XANTARES and crew added to their impressive pistol round record by winning the fourth round on Nuke’s T side. Eternal Fire relied heavily on “Calyx” for their attack, and it was his triple-kill outside that gave them a 6-5 lead.
Nevertheless, fnatic and KRIMZ rallied late in the half and strung four consecutive victories to go ahead 9-6 at the half. After a sluggish start on their T side, fnatic came back and won six straight rounds to win the map 16-11 and the match 2-1. Eternal Fire was unable to manage the trident of FASHR, mezii, and “nicoodoz,” and Calyx’s silence in the second half did not help matters either.
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