Team Spirit and Gambit Esports pulled off amazing underdog victories against their favored matchups Astralis and G2 Esports, on the final day of IEM Katowice 2021: Group Stage which took place yesterday on 21 Feb. Both these epic clashes were edge of the seat nail-biters and some of the most entertaining CS:GO matches of the tournament so far. The 2 Russian esports organizations, Gambit Esports and Team Spirit were the cream of the crop attaining valuable victories in their respective matchups. While Gambit’s victory ensured that the team kept their run alive in the tournament by qualifying for the playoffs, for Spirit the victory meant a direct semifinals slot at the grand event.
Gambit runs down G2 to secure a playoffs slot
G2 Esports who were the IEM Katowice 2020 runners-up were sent down to the lower bracket early on by the in form CIS organization Team Spirit. Even Gambit Esports faced a similar fate as they landed in the lower bracket after facing a rough ‘2-0’ loss against Evil Geniuses in their opening match. Both the teams on the brink of elimination made their way to the lower bracket finals, fighting it out on the final day of the IEM Katowice 2021: Group stage.
All the numbers favored G2 to win this faceoff as they were the better team on paper, but the reality was very different from what was projected. Try as he might, G2’s star player Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac could not carry his team over the first map Vertigo, but for the viewers this was understandable as it was Gambit’s map pick after all.
However, when it came to G2’s pick Dust 2 the team failed to mount a comeback. Heroic efforts from both Abay ‘Hobbit’ Khasenov and Dmitry ‘sh1ro’ Sokolov gave Gambit a solid boost in performance, as they secured the map and with it the series as well. As a result G2 were eliminated from the tournament while Gambit made it to the playoffs.
Spirit shocks Astralis to steal a semifinal slot
Team Spirit qualified for the IEM Katowice 2021: Group stage after their 1st-4th place finish in the play-ins stage and wrecked havoc against some of the best CS:GO teams in the world. Spirit who are using two recently loaned players, Abdul ‘degster’ Gasanov and Robert ‘Patsi’ Isyanov, secured a playoffs spot after defeating both G2 and Heroic. But this was not enough for them as the Russian organization eyed the semifinals spot as well.
Astralis, after consecutive ‘2-0’ wins against Mousesports and Evil Geniuses were set to play against Team Spirit in the upper bracket finals. Players, Analysts, and Talents heavily favored Astralis to win this match but what transpired was simply unbelievable.
Team Spirit after losing their map pick Inferno, came back from a ‘1-0’ deficit to hand Astralis back-to-back losses on both Train and Dust 2. The last map witnessed Astralis go down by a ‘16-1’ scoreline, second time in its history after the memorable 2018 bashing by North. This victory observes Spirit directly claiming a semifinals berth alongside Team Liquid.