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Riders continue dominance of Group C 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

Movistar Riders did it again Saturday, downing BIG to maintain sole possession of first place with one day remaining in Group C action at the ESL Pro League Season 15 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Riders edged BIG 25-23 on Nuke and 16-11 on Vertigo to clinch first place and earn the accompanying bye into the quarterfinals. If they beat last-place Party Astronauts on Sunday Riders will complete a five-match sweep of Group C.

Team Liquid and Players locked up the other two Group C spots in the playoff stage. They are tied at 3-1 after Saturday’s results, but each team has already lost to Riders.

Saturday, Liquid handled Party Astronauts in successive games, 16-5 on Dust II and 16-9 on Mirage. Players had to go to a tiebreaking third game before dispatching GODSENT, 16-14 (Inferno), 13-16 (Overpass), 16-3 (Mirage).

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.

Group C play concludes Sunday with three matches:
Players vs. Team Liquid
Movistar Riders vs. Party Astronauts

Group C standings, with win-loss record and point differential:
1. Movistar Riders, 4-0, +21
2. Team Liquid, 3-1, +44
3. Players, 3-1, +38
4. GODSENT, 1-3, -28
5. BIG, 1-3, -7
6. Party Astronauts, 0-4, -68

–Field Level Media