It started so well but ended with a brutal crash. The honeymoon for YEKINDAR and Team Liquid ended after only one map at IEM Cologne versus Team Spirit.
On Dust2 everything seemed right for the NA team, where the duo of nitr0 and YEKINDAR completely annihilated the defense of Spirit, who had to surrender their own map pick after an 11-4 lead to the NA team.
The stand-in, Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis, ended the map with a +14 K-D score, while Captain America himself, Nick 'nitr0' Cannella stole the show with an ADR of 110.5!
On Overpass it was a completely different story. At least for YEKINDAR. The Latvian star had a nightmare first half, where he did not manage to find a kill before the last round of the half! For Team Liquid the half ended with a nice recovery at 6-9 after being 2-8 down. Six T-side rounds on Overpass gave promises for a good second half, but Spirit and Robert 'Patsi' Isyanov wanted it different. A superb second half from the CIS roster pushed the match to a third map decider on Ancient.
Here Spirit won the knife round and kickstarted the map with a 10-5 lead on their CT side. A lead that was quickly equalized by the North Americans who found some of the pace and firepower back again as they had successfully utilized on Dust2. Combined with multiple opening kills going in the way of Liquid the map began to tip in favor of the NA team. But Team Spirit lingered on and kept themselves in the battle. And in double overtime, they managed to finally beat Team Liquid, who saw both the best and worst from their stand-in player today.
Spirit will play the winner of Faze vs 00Nation in the next round of IEM Cologne, while Team Liquid will face the loser.
Team Spirit - Team Liquid 2-1 | IEM Cologne
8-16 (Dust2) | nitr0 - 1.72 Rating / 23-14 K-D / 110.5 ADR
16-9 (Overpass) | Patsi - 1.51 Rating / 27-17 K-D / 105.9 ADR
22-20 (Ancient) | Patsi - 1.20 Rating / 36-36 K-D / 91.8 ADR
MVP: Robert 'Patsi' Isyanov - 1.22 Rating / 80-74 K-D / 96.6 ADR