Vitality defeat NiP in ESL One Cologne Europe semi-finals; to face Heroic in grand final
Vitality and NiP saw plenty of each other before the player break, facing off nine times since the beginning of the year. The French squad, who got the best of the Swedes six out of nine times, increased that number to seven after defeating the Ninjas in a two map ESL One Cologne semi-final series to set up a grand final bout against Heroic.
Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut downed three CTs as Vitality took the first pistol round on Dust2. The French team kept the pressure up, leading 6-0 before doubles by Hampus “hampus” Poser and Simon “twist” Eliasson put NiP on the board. Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora with a triple and hampus then won a 2vs4 retake to add a second, giving NiP the necessary momentum to shorten the distances, 4-6, although Vitality recovered to take a 9-6 lead at the half.
Vitality hit double digits by winning the second pistol round, going up 12-6 after NiP’s first buy. The Ninjas were able to still equip AKs the following round thanks to a bomb plant and won their first round on the attack, but that would be as far as they went on Dust2 as Vitality won the map out 16-7.
ZywOo amassed 34 kills on Overpass to help Vitality secure the series
Cédric “RpK” Guipouy shut down NiP with four USP-S kills on the first round of Overpass. Aggressive play by the French team dismantled the terrorists’ first gun round, but four late kills by twist turned it around as to make it 1-3. Three opening kills by ZywOo the following round put Vitality back in charge as they took a 5-1 lead, but Tim “nawwk” Jonasson retaliated with three kills of his own the following round to open up the A site and secure NiP another tally on the scoreboard. Another triple, this time by Richard “shox” Papillon, kept his side ahead, 6-3, although their lead slimmed down to 8-7 at the half.
Plopski stole a lost pistol round with four kills and a bomb defusal to tie things up early on in the second half and NiP went up 10-8, but with guns in play Vitality were able to bring it to a 10-10 tie. They were then able to put some ground between themselves and their Swedish rivals, 13-11, hitting match point soon thereafter and eventually closing out the map and match, 16-13, on a round with only ZywOo and shox carrying rifles.
Vitality will face Heroic in the ESL One Cologne Europe 2020 grand final on Sunday at 18:30 in a best-of-five bout for the $150,000 grand prize.