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Riders beat Liquid in battle of leaders at ESL Pro League

Jan 26, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles OpTic Gaming battles Chicago Huntsmen during the Call of Duty League Launch Weekend at The Armory. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Movistar Riders rallied to defeat Team Liquid in a battle of undefeated teams Friday in Group C action at the ESL Pro League Season 15 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Riders improve to 3-0. Team Liquid fall to 2-1 and into a tie for second in the Group C standings with Players, who beat BIG on Friday. GODSENT defeated Party Astronauts in the day’s other contest.

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.

Riders dropped the first map to Liquid, 16-14 on Inferno. But Riders rallied, winning Mirage 16-12 and taking Ancient 19-16 in overtime to clinch. Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia led the all-Spanish side with 79 kills and a plus-31 kills-to-deaths differential. Alejandro “alex” Masanet added 71 kills for Riders.

Players also won in a tight match, winning 22-20 on Vertigo and 16-14 on Ancient to get by BIG. Russian Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov (58 kills) led Players with a plus-23 K-D differential while countryman Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov led the team with 59 kills.

GODSENT had its way with Party Astronauts, winning 16-9 on Nuke and 16-8 on Ancient. Epitacio “TACO” de Melo led the all-Brazilian side with 42 kills and a plus-15 differential.

Group C play continues Saturday with three matches:
BIG vs. MoviStar Riders
Liquid vs. Party Astronauts
Players vs. GODSENT

Group C standings, with win-loss record and point differential:
1. Movistar Riders, 3-0, +14
T2. Team Liquid, 2-1, +26
T2. Players, 2-1, +26
T4. GODSENT, 1-2, -16
T4. BIG, 1-2, 0
6. Party Astronauts, 0-3, -50

–Field Level Media