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NaVi, Vitality stay unbeaten at ESL Pro League Season 16

A backlit keyboard is part of the gear online video game streamer Jordan Woodruff uses in his Gilbert home.Jordan Woodruff
Credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Natus Vincere and Team Vitality improved to 2-0 in Group A by winning their respective matches on Thursday during ESL Pro League Season 16 in Malta.

NaVi defeated Fnatic 2-1 while Vitality swept Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-0. Team Spirit got into the win column with a 2-1 result over Endpoint.

The $835,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event features 24 teams vying for a $175,000 first prize and berth into the BLAST Premier World Final. Only the Season 16 champion will clinch a spot in the $1 million Final set for Dec. 14-18 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Pro League teams are divided into four groups for the initial round-robin phase. The four group champions will advance to the playoff quarterfinals, while the teams that come in second and third in each group will move on to the playoffs’ Round of 12.

All matches in the group stage and the playoffs are best-of-three until the best-of-five final on Oct. 2.

In a battle of two teams that entered the day 1-0, Fnatic struck first with a narrow 16-14 win on Ancient. But NaVi tied the match with a 16-8 victory on Mirage and won 16-7 on Inferno to finish it off. Denis “electroNic” Sharipov of Russia starred for NaVi with 69 kills and a plus-22 kills-to-deaths ratio.

Vitality edged NiP 16-14 on Nuke before rounding it out with a 16-8 win on Vertigo. Israel’s Lotan “Spinx” Giladi led Vitality with 49 kills on a plus-15 K-D, while French star Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut added 47 kills on a match-high plus-21 K-D for the winners.

Team Spirit blasted Endpoint 16-3 on Overpass before Endpoint countered with a 19-17 overtime win on Ancient. The deciding map also required overtime, but Spirit held on for a 22-18 win on Vertigo. All five Spirit players finished with positive differentials, topped by Russian Robert “Patsi” Isyanov’s 81 kills and plus-16 K-D.

Group A action continues Friday with three matches:
–Natus Vincere vs. Endpoint
–Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Team Spirit
–Team Vitality vs. Fnatic

Group A concludes on Sunday. Group B will be contested from Sept. 7-11, Group C from Sept. 14-18 and Group D from Sept. 21-25.

ESL Pro League Season 16 group standings, with win-loss record, score differential and points
Group A
1. Team Vitality, 2-0, +25, 6 points
2. Natus Vincere, 2-0, +27, 6 points
3. Fnatic, 1-1, +9, 3 points
4. Team Spirit, 1-1, +3, 3 points
5. Endpoint, 0-2, -30, 0 points
6. Ninjas in Pyjamas, 0-2, -34, 0 points

Group B
FaZe Clan
G2 Esports
FTW Esports

Group C

Group D
Movistar Riders
Team Liquid
FURIA Esports
Evil Geniuses
Eternal Fire

–Field Level Media