Credit: PGL

Natus Vincere avoid upset and secure Semi-final spot!

The Movistar Riders almost managed to take down the giants that are Natus Vincere

Whilst NiP and MOUZ battled for survival at the IEM Cologne 2022 event, Natus Vincere and Movistar Riders had a brawl for a spot in the Semi-finals of the event. Natus Vincere needs no introduction and despite recently losing their IGL in "Boombl4", they seem as if they are stronger than ever. Movistar Riders on the other hand is a lesser-known roster, but a roster that has been phenomenal as of late. On paper, Natus Vincere were the heavy favorites, but with Movistar Riders taking down the likes of G2 earlier at the Group Stage, everything could happen when the CIS giants and the Spanish Riders locked horns in an exciting Bo3-series. Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn't a walk in the park for NaVi, quite the opposite actually. Thanks to great performances from "SunPayus" and "mopoz", the Spaniards put NaVi through the works. Whilst the Spaniards did their absolute best, Natus Vincere managed to take it to all three maps, and with "s1mple" showing up in a huge fashion on the final map it was all she wrote. Ultimately it was NaVi to claim victory against the Spaniards and secure a spot in the Semi-finals of the event.

The first map of the Bo3-series was picked by Movistar Riders and saw the brawl kick off on Inferno. Having already proven what they are capable of on Inferno at this event, the Movistar Riders seemed confident as the two teams began their battle on Inferno. Despite a confident offense from Movistar Riders, the defense of NaVi proved superior in the first half of Inferno as it was NaVi to claim a 9-6 lead before switching sides in the second half. Once the two rosters had switched sides, the otherwise cohesive Natus Vincere completely crumbled. Failing to get through the Spanish defense whatsoever, NaVi seemed completely stunned on their T-side. A flawless CT-sided half, winning 10 consecutive rounds saw Movistar Riders claim victory on their own map pick of Inferno at the scoreline of 16-9.

The second map of the brawl between Movistar Riders and NaVi was, of course, picked by Natus Vincere which meant a trip to Mirage. With a player like "s1mple", arguably the best in the world, it is always scary to face NaVi on such an open map as Mirage. It didn't seem as if Movistar Riders were scared one bit, however, and with their main AWP'er in "SunPayus" waking up on Mirage, it was the Spaniards to prove the strongest roster in the first half of Mirage. At the scoreline of 9-6, favoring the Riders, the two teams switched sides. Whilst it was clear that Movistar Riders were playing unbelievable Counter-Strike you had the feeling that if only NaVi woke up, it would be over. Exactly that happened in the second half of Mirage and with NaVi operating in all gears, the CIS giants managed to claw themselves back into the game and force a third and final map of the brawl with a 16-11 victory on Mirage.

The third and final map was to be played on Overpass. With Natus Vincere finally finding their groove in the late stages of Mirage, as well as "s1mple" continuing to perform at a scarily high level of consistency, it seemed a daunting prospect for the Spaniards who would need to play the Overpass game of their life to surpass a now-awake NaVi roster. Already from the beginning of Overpass, it became clear that NaVi were feeling themselves. A rock-solid defense from the CIS giants saw them secure a 12-3 lead before the two teams switched sides. All NaVi had to do in the second half of Overpass was to finish what they had started in the first, and whilst Movistar Riders managed to claw back a handful of rounds on their T-side, it was ultimately what happened. At the scoreline of 16-10, a sigh of relief for the NaVi boys as they managed to avoid an upset and instead move past Movistar Riders in a 2-1 victory.

Highlight of the Bo3-series:

Natus Vincere - Movistar Riders 2-1 | IEM Cologne

9-16 (Inferno) | mopoz - 1.77 Rating / 26-17 K-D / 110.3 ADR

16-11 (Mirage) | s1mple - 1.32 Rating / 26-14 K-D / 79.3 ADR

16-10 (Ovpass) | s1mple - 1.33 Rating / 22-14 K-D / 82.7 ADR

MVP: Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev - 1.31 Rating / 73-46 K-D / 86.1 ADR

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