There were some epic performances in Week 1 of Rocket League in the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered by Domino’s, and Week 2 did not disappoint as last season’s champions Renault Vitality were in action for the first time, and Nordavind also made their first appearance of Season 4.
Renault Vitality vs Reason
Calix got Reason off to a fantastic start in Game 1, scoring after just 5 seconds from a loose ball to put Season 3’s champs on the back foot. Renault Vitality’s sluggish start continued, but their quality shone through soon after as Paschy fired a shot into the top corner from his own half. Reason then retook the lead with a lovely finish from Pugsay assisted by Calix as his excellent form continued. However, Vitality were able to wrestle back control once again as Paschy grabbed his second of the game to make it 2-2 with less than 2 minutes to go.
Reason looked extremely impressive down the right-hand side throughout the game, and they capitalised on Vitality’s poor positioning to make it 3-2 through Shakahron. As Vitality pressed for an equaliser, Fairy Peak came within inches of connecting with a long ball, but Calix had the final say to make it 4-2 in the dying seconds.
Goals were harder to come by in the second game as Reason’s defence stood firm against the Vitality attack for the first few minutes. Despite the ardent defensive work, a little bit of skill and good fortune allowed Neqzo to score for Vitality to put them into the lead in for the first time in the series.
The lead was short lived as a gutsy play from Shakahron saw him connect with a rebound to make it 1-1. Despite the rally from Reason, Vitality were patient, and Neqzo managed to get on the end of a backboard pass from Paschy to take the lead once more. Paschy then nipped in to take advantage of some poor control by Pugsay to make it 3-1 with 30 seconds to play, and Neqzo bagged his third goal of the game with 5 seconds to go to secure the victory for Vitality.
With the series poised at one apiece, Neqzo produced a moment of magic to subtly deflect a wayward shot into the goal to make it 1-0 and show the fans at home that he is more than capable of filling the void left by FreaKii.
Reason’s attacking game was frantic throughout, but the experienced Vitality roster was able to deal with most of the pressure coming from the Season 2 champions. Shakahron had Reason’s best chance with 30 seconds to go, but Fairy Peak was equal to his effort. A madcap last 10 seconds also saw Pugsay and Calix have shots cleared off the line, but Vitality clung on to claim their second win.
The attack from Reason was persistent in Game 4 but again suffered from a lack of width, and Vitality were the side in front around the halfway mark as Paschy managed to connect with a long clear from Neqzo.
The hugely impressive Neqzo was then on hand to double Vitality’s lead with around 90 seconds remaining, and Reason were facing a 3-1 loss in their second game of Season 4. Fairy Peak produced a brilliant save moving back towards his own goal to keep the two-goal cushion intact, and ultimately Vitality’s rock solid defence had enough to seal the win.
Epsilon vs ASUS ROG Army
There was another fast start in the second series of the day as Distan fired home for ROG Army after 5 seconds, only for Sebadam to reply with a long-range effort for Epsilon a mere 5 seconds later. After another close call for Epsilon a few seconds later, the game quietened down until Distan grabbed his second, taking advantage of a mistake to take the lead.
Epsilon answered back soon after with Sebadam again the man with the goal to make it 2-2. ROG Army rode their luck with the ball trickling across the goal line and no-one from Epsilon to convert, but Sebadam wasn’t to be denied as he scored to give Epsilon the lead for the first time. The drama wasn’t over though, as some great play from Flux set up Tehda to grab yet another equaliser.
The game was scrappy yet thoroughly entertaining, and Bilbo took advantage of the chaos to convert a backboard pass to make it 4-3 going into the last minute. With just 32 seconds remaining, Distan bagged his third to make 4-4 to take the game into overtime. The winning goal came 35 seconds into overtime as Tehda slammed home the winner to end a frantic game.
Tehda was at it again to score the first goal of the game as ROG Army’s offensive overload allowed them to overwhelm the Epsilon defence. The chaos caused by the ROG Army team was clearly having an effect, as a cross from Distan was missed by the defence to bounce agonisingly over the line to make it 2-0.
Epsilon roared back soon after though, as Cheerio took advantage of the gaps in ROG Army’s defence to slot home his first of the series. The hectic play continued with big chances for both teams to score before Sebadam slotted the ball into an empty net with the ROG Army defence nowhere to be seen. However, the all-out offense for ROG Army paid dividends as Tehda made it 3-2 going into the last minute and they were able to go two up in the series.
Another fast start from ROG Army saw Distan convert an easy chance after just 5 seconds to put Epsilon up against it in the third game of the series. ROG Army pressed for the second goal as Epsilon sought the equaliser, but neither was forthcoming as the game bucked the trend of the series with just the one goal scored heading into the final minute.
As Epsilon pushed for a goal to keep the series alive, Tehda almost put the game out of reach only for his effort to be blocked on the line, but Sebadam came up with the clutch play as his double touch off the backboard started a remarkable comeback. With the game at 1-1, he then set up Bilbo to give Epsilon the lead. Bilbo then fired in a third to make it 3-, and despite a last-second goal from Tehda, Epsilon came through to take the series to Game 4.
There were concerns that ROG Army’s heads could drop, but the late goal in Game 3 had clearly given them the confidence to start well and Tehda was on hand to give them the lead early on with his seventh goal of the day. However, Bilbo’s fine form continued, and he tied the game up at 1-1 less than a minute later.
ROG Army’s defensive mistakes went unpunished as Epsilon piled on the pressure, but as they rushed forward a block allowed Flux to guide the ball into an empty goal to make it 2-1. Muted celebrations followed as ROG Army as they recognised there was a long time left in the game, but the underdogs were ahead by two as Tehda finished from close range after a searing dribble into the Epsilon half from Flux created the chance.
Epsilon weren’t going quietly though, and Bilbo found an impossible angle to convert a pass from Cheerio to make it 3-2. Despite the great play from Bilbo, it was his poor touch that allowed Distan the chance to strike and restore the two-goal lead. More sloppy defensive play let Distan stretch the lead to three goals with less than 90 seconds to play.
The mistakes kept coming as Tehda missed a clearance and Sebadam struck to give Epsilon hope heading into the last minute. Bilbo then had a chance to reduce the arrears to one but couldn’t connect with the cross before making up for the miss by converting to leave the game at 5-4 with 16 seconds to go. Sebadam had a late chance to send the game into overtime, but his shot went wide, and ROG Army clung on to claim a famous win.
Nordavind vs Hashtag United
Hashtag’s Week 1 clean sweep over ROG Army was made to look all the more impressive after the latter’s win over Epsilon, but it was Nordavind who scored first as Godsmilla finished off a nice pass from Al Dente. Hashtag hit back soon after as Data failed to clear a ball from the backboard and Rafro was on hand to make it 1-1.
The two teams jostled for the much of the remainder of the match with neither side quite able to find a winner. However, with just 15 seconds to go, Data made amends for his earlier error by scoring the winner to give Nordavind a win in their first game of Season 4.
Data went from strength to strength in Game 2 as he grabbed the first goal of the game, turning home after eekso had nipped it to steal the ball from Hashtag near their own goal. The two teams tussled to try and find the decisive goal, and it was jakeypoo who got the score that mattered for Hashtag to level the score.
The game was reasonably scrappy with neither team able to retain possession and build coherent attacks, and as both teams meandered towards overtime, eekso capitalised on some aggression in offense from Nordavind to score with just 1 second left on the clock to snatch victory away from the Norwegian side.
Cagey, nervous play dominated at the start of the third game of the series as Nordavind and Hashtag exchanged chances in the opening stages. The game drifted on without a clear winner until eekso broke the deadlock before he struck again moments later to make it 2-0 with less than 90 seconds to play.
eekso was in action again shortly after to make a last-ditch save to keep Nordavind at bay as Hashtag sought to go a game up in the series. Nordavind couldn’t carve out any significant chances after this, and jakeypoo slotted home a third to gift-wrap the win as Nordavind pressed for a goal of their own.
Hashtag went into the game knowing victory would secure a second win from their first two Elite Series fixtures, but it was their former player Data who opened the scoring for Nordavind. However, Hashtag hit back straight away with eekso continuing his excellent form to turn home the leveller.
Both teams played cautiously, aware that another goal for Hashtag could kill the series, but Data struck again to make it 2-1 to Nordavind. Hashtag remained composed though with eekso equalising seconds later before Rafro grabbed the goal put his team in front. eekso’s incredible performance continued as he set up jakeypoo to take the score to 4-2 heading into the last minute.
The icing on the cake came in the last minute as eekso perfectly controlled a dropping ball before dribbling towards goal and neatly flipping it over the helpless Al Dente. Even a late goal from Data to make it 5-3 couldn’t take the gloss off a vastly impressive performance that leaves Hashtag top of Group B at the end of Week 2.
Envy vs Method
After 6 goals on his Elite Series debut, Kassio took less than 30 seconds to grab his first goal of Week 2 as Method looked to continue their excellent form. Envy replied with consistent pressure on the Method goal, and the equaliser came from Waffle who was playing under his new tag Winther for the first time.
Parity was fleeting as Rix Ronday turned home from close range after some quality build-up play from Kassio and Borito B. Method’s defence held firm as the game entered the last 60 seconds, and with Envy looking to force the issue, Kassio finished neatly to give Method a two-goal lead.
Envy didn’t lie down though, and with 30 seconds remaining Oscillon grabbed another goal to take it down to the wire. In the end, Envy didn’t have quite enough to force the game into overtime and Method took the game to move ahead in the series.
Method put the squeeze on in the second game with Rix Ronday, Borito B and Kassio combining well and attacking from a variety of different angles, but it was Oscillon who scored first for Envy after 2 minutes. Method continued to apply pressure and Envy couldn’t create many more chances but went into the final minute 1-0 up.
The pressure finally told with 54 seconds left on the clock as Rix Ronday gave Method a deserved equaliser. Both sides had chances, but the game went into overtime as neither team could find a winner.
Overtime was a turgid affair with both teams wary of conceding early on. The game eventually went the way of Method as a breakdown in communication from Winter and Mout gave Rix Ronday an easy chance to claim the win.
Rix Ronday was amongst the goals again as he took full advantage of a scrappy kick-off to give Method the lead after just 4 seconds. With a 3-0 series defeat in their sights, Envy rallied with Oscillon poaching the equaliser after a demo on Kassio left the Method goal unguarded.
Envy’s attack was limited as they looked fearful of conceding another goal and losing the series, but Oscillon slowly grew into the game, and with just over a minute to go he bagged a goal to take his side into the lead. Oscillon was then in the game at the other end as he made two fantastic flying saves and with time elapsed, Borito B failed to convert a backboard pass thanks to a tiny deflection and Envy claimed their first win of Season 4.
Method could have easily found themselves frustrated after losing a game in which they dominated, but an early failed clearance from Mout gave Kassio the chance to put them into the lead. Oscillon hit back for Envy soon after with his long shot finding its way into the goal.
Envy managed to keep Method at bay as the Boys In Blue came under immense pressure, but the pressure was too much for them to handle and Rix Ronday scored a vital goal for Method to put them within touching distance of a second consecutive series win. Envy showed great heart to come back again as Mout scored to even the score heading into the final minute. Mout then came up with another crucial goal for Envy as he finished off to give his side the lead before going on to make an incredible save with the clock on zero to take the series to Game 5.
The last match of Week 2 saw Envy make a fast start as Winther snuck in ahead of Kassio to pinch to lead and leave Envy dreaming of a reverse clean sweep. However, Kassio had other ideas and scored an immediate reply from an outrageous angle that left the commentators and fans in the Gfinity Esports Arena stunned.
Winther made an incredible save a minute later before Mout took the ball up the other end to give Envy the lead once more. Envy did well as the game progressed to keep the ball in the Method half to stifle their opportunities, and Envy came closest to scoring as Method were left frustrated. Winther kept his side ahead with key interceptions and saves as time ticked away but a double whiff allowed Kassio to equalise with 41 seconds to go.
There weren’t any winners, meaning the final game went into overtime to determine a winner in the series. Oscillon was on hand to make a save on the line to deny Method the victory a minute into overtime as both teams favoured the backboard in their attacking plays. The save proved invaluable as Mout turned home the winner 1 minute and 53 seconds into overtime to give them an incredible reverse clean sweep and their first win of Season 4, although Method’s losing point took them to the top of Group A.
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