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Players, Liquid kick off Group C with big wins at ESL Pro League

A crowd full of Austin FC fans cheered for Austin FC's eMLS player, John Garcia, during the eMLS Cup tournament at the Moody Theater on March 13, 2022. The eMLS Cup is the championship tournament that determines which player is the best FIFA esports player in North America.Aem Sxsw Emls Cup 16
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Group C action got underway Wednesday at the ESL Pro League Season 15 in Dusseldorf, Germany, headlined by dominant wins for Players and Team Liquid.

Both Players and Liquid cruised by virtue of 2-0 sweeps, with Players outdueling the Party Astronauts and Liquid easing past BIG. In the other match of the day, Movistar Riders earned a three-map victory over GODSENT, 2-1.

The 24-team Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event is divided into four round-robin groups in the opening stage. The winners from each group will advance to the quarterfinals while second- and third-place teams advance to the Round of 12.

All matches are best-of-three until the best-of-five final on April 10. Ninjas in Pyjamas took Group A, going 4-1 in five matches, while last week FURIA Esports clinched the top spot in Group B. Groups C and D will be contested over the next two weeks.

The winner of the $823,000 event earns $175,000 and entry to the BLAST World Final 2022. That team will also garner 1,300 Pro Tour points.

Players provided the day’s most one-sided decision by winning 16-4 on Inferno and 16-6 on Ancient. Russia’s Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov led the way with a match-high 44 kills and plus-24 kills-to-deaths differential, with all five Players starters at plus-9 or better.

Liquid started slow on their opening map, but reeled off 10 straight points after trailing 5-0 early en route to a 16-11 win on Dust2. Liquid then earned the sweep by taking Mirage, 16-12. Keith “NAF” Markovic of Canada topped the winners with 48 kills and a plus-17 K/D differential.

Riders had a rougher ride to victory, but not at first as they swiftly conquered Nuke (16-6) to take a 1-0 lead. GODSENT used a late 10-0 spurt to even the match on Ancient (16-11), but Riders claimed the match with a 16-12 triumph on Mirage. David Granado Bermudo (aka “dav1g”) carried Riders’ all-Spanish lineup with 70 kills and a plus-23 K/D ratio, best among all players.

Group C play continues Thursday with three matches:
Players vs. Movistar Riders
BIG vs. Party Astronauts
Team Liquid vs. GODSENT

Group C standings, with win-loss record and point differential:
T1. Players, 1-0, +22
T1. Team Liquid, 1-0, +9
T1. Movistar Riders, 1-0, +9
T4. GODSENT, 0-1, -9
T4. BIG, 0-1, -9
T4. Party Astronauts, 0-1, -22

–Field Level Media