The third week of Rocket League in the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered by Domino’s saw some incredible results as several teams looked to fight back after disappointing results in the opening weeks, while others were hoping to secure a place in the Season 4 playoffs.
Renault Vitality vs Method
With Paschy unavailable, Jnr stepped into the Vitality starting roster for their match against Method, who went unchanged from their Week 2 roster. Kassio grabbed the first goal of the game after 19 seconds as Method looked to put last week’s reverse sweep behind them. Method then doubled their lead as Kassio scored his second of the game as he took advantage of an over-commit from Vitality.
The Vitality defence was found wanting again as a long-clear from Borito B slowly bounced into the goal to make it 3-0 to Method. The Season 3 champions came under immense pressure from Method, but Fairy Peak produced a moment of magic to take the score to 3-1 and get his side back into the game. With the clock on zero, Fairy Peak scored once more, but Game 1 went to Method.
Fairy Peak was the main man again in the second game of the day as he converted a backboard pass to give Vitality the lead inside the first minute. Method were able to get an equaliser not long after though as Kassio’s long-clear found its way into the Vitality goal to make it 1-1.
As we headed into the last 30 seconds neck-and-neck, Fairy Peak stepped up again to finish from a high-angle to make it 2-1, and the victory was ensured a few seconds later as Jnr connected with a long ball from Neqzo to leave the series intriguingly posed at one game each.
Both teams had early chances to take the lead, but in the end, it was another long-clear from Rix Ronday that gave Method the edge inside the first 30 seconds. Vitality pushed hard for an equaliser, but yet another long-clear from Kassio with no-one back on rotation gave Method a 2-0 lead with just over two minutes left to play.
Jnr missed a chance shortly after having been set up by Fairy Peak, and despite opportunities for both sides, the score stayed at 2-0 moving into the final minute. The wind appeared to have been knocked out of Vitality’s sails late on, and Method were able to claim a scrappy win to make it 2-1 in the series.
Method went into Game 4 knowing a win would clinch the series, and they started aggressively as they looked to put Vitality on the back foot. Vitality weathered the early Method storm as the game reached the halfway point at 0-0.
There were plenty of chances as the game wore on, but both teams suffered from a lack of composure in front of the goal as the commentators lamented their inaccuracies. Ultimately, an uncharacteristic defensive mistake from Vitrality allowed Rix Ronday to squeeze home to make it 1-0 with less than a minute to play.
A late onslaught from Vitality saw two chances from Jnr saved by Method, and they managed to hang on to take the series 3-1 and get their second win of Season 4.
Envy vs exceL
exceL were looking to get their season up and running after a 3-0 defeat to Method in Week 1, and their pragmatic start paid off as Nielskok got on the end of Mccluvin’s backboard pass to get the first goal of the series. Envy then found themselves 2-0 down as a poor clearance from Winther was met by Elite Draftee Breezi to double the advantage.
Mout made a good save soon after to keep Envy in the game, and the save proved crucial as they swept up the other end of the pitch to score through Winther to halve the deficit. However, more poor defensive play from Envy saw Nielskok’s intercept rebound into the goal off Breezi to make it 3-1.
Envy managed to put some pressure on the exceL goal, but they managed to hold firm in the latter stages of the game to take the lead in the series.
The Boys In Blue were hoping to make another comeback in Game 2, and Oscillon grabbed the first goal of the game as he converted from a tight angle to make it 1-0. However, exceL won the ball from the kick-off and created a chance for Breezi to tap the ball in from close range.
The goals were coming thick and fast though, as Envy made it 2-1 moments later as Oscillon’s shot rebounded off the crossbar only to find its way into the goal via the unfortunate Mccluvin. Envy looked to get their game going as time went on, and Winther put them into a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes to go after some decent build-up play. exceL tried to force the issue, but Envy controlled the late stages of the game to help them level the series up at 1-1.
The third match of the series started cagily, and it took a moment of individual brilliance from Oscillon as he double-touched off the backboard to give Envy the lead after two minutes. Envy’s defence looked solid as the shots rained in from exceL, but they couldn’t hold out for the win as Nielskok equalised with 43 seconds left to play.
Overtime loomed large, but a fantastic dribble from Oscillon took the ball close to the exceL goal, and after he forced Mccluvin off the ball, Winther was there to make it 2-1 with less than 20 seconds to play. A late shot from Nielskok was then brilliantly saved before Mccluvin’s follow-up effort hit the crossbar, but the ball was grounded soon after and Envy went 2-1 up in the series.
Knowing they needed to win the game to keep the series alive, exceL took a vital lead through Breezi after good build-up play from Nielskok presented the Elite Series debutant with an easy close-range chance. However, as has become their MO, Envy fought back well, and after Oscillon hit the post, Mout took advantage of an over-commit from exceL to level the score at 1-1.
exceL roared back into the lead shortly after, with Envy failing to clear and Nielskok turning home the loose ball. As Envy sought another equaliser, Nielskok made the crucial play once more as a great challenge allowed him to tap in to give exceL a two-goal cushion.
A long-clear from Mccluvin almost made it 4-1 only for a desperate clearance to keep the game alive, and after Envy committed themselves forward in search of a goal, Nielskok slotted the ball into an empty goal to take the series to a Game 5 decider.
An early chance for Envy was passed up as Mout whiffed at the crucial moment, and although both teams pressed hard for the opening goal, the score remained at 0-0 at the halfway mark.
It took a wonderful team move from Envy to break the deadlock, as Winther played a sublime one-two with Mout to take the exceL defence out of the equation and slam home the first goal of the game with 1 minute and 24 seconds left. The goal left exceL reeling, and Envy capitalised to make it 2-0 just three seconds later as Oscillon won the kick-off to give Winther a simple chance to score into an empty goal.
Nielskok missed a huge opportunity to make it 2-1 with a minute to go as Envy looked to protect their lead. Late saves from Winther kept exceL at bay, and in the end, Envy held out to claim a gutsy win as they took the series 3-2.
Fnatic vs ASUS ROG Army
ROG Army got the first goal of the series as Tahz’s long-range effort found Maestro out of position and unable to make the touch. The lead was short-lived though, as Snaski won the kick-off and MummiSnow zoomed onto the loose ball to tie the score up at 1-1.
Maestro then capitalised on slow defensive play from Tehda to convert MummiSnow’s backboard pass to make it 2-1 to Fnatic. As ROG Army looked to get back into the game, they tried to start the passing game that took them to victory over Epsilon in Week 2, but Fnatic’s experience showed as they held on to take the first game of the series.
Both teams were very guarded in the second game of the series as they looked to keep things tighter in defence, and it was only after some great play from Snaski set up MummiSnow to score with the ROG Army defence missing. The offensive chaos which allowed ROG Army to overwhelm Epsilon wasn’t forthcoming as Fnatic were able to disrupt the passing play and force the Spanish side into a series of long-clears.
ROG Army went into the final minute without any notable chances to speak of, but with 32 seconds remaining, Tehda latched onto a long ball to score from an incredible angle to make it 1-1. Fnatic tried to strike back instantly, and they went close with a shot hitting the crossbar, and a long-pass scrambled away off the line by Tehda. There were no winners to be found though, and the game went into overtime.
Tehda was forced to make another desperate clearance heading back towards his own goal early on, but the pressure soon went on Fnatic as MummiSnow made an excellent save to keep Fnatic in the game. Snaski was on hand to make another save as ROG Army swarmed the Fnatic goal, but two minutes of overtime elapsed as the crowd awaited a winning goal.
Having played so well defensively for most of the game, an over-commit from Fnatic decided the game as Tehda raced onto a loose ball to score after 2 minute and 28 seconds of overtime and level the series at 1-1.
Snaski got the first goal of Game 3 after a poor clearance from Distan allowed Fnatic to take the lead inside the first minute. Fnatic looked for a second goal to take command of the game, but both teams were cautious in the knowledge that the next goal would have a considerable say in the series.
Distan failed to take advantage of a two-on-one chance to get ROG Army back into the series, and as they sought an equaliser their defence was left out of position, and Maestro was in the right place to double Fnatic’s lead. The game was finished off in style as Maestro scored the goal of the day with an aerial double-touch sealing the 3-0 win for Fnatic.
Fnatic went into the fourth game with match point, and they got off to a great start as Snaski converted another superb backboard pass from MummiSnow. ROG Army were back in it soon after as a long-shot from Tehda caught out the Fnatic defence to make it 1-1.
The game meandered on, and the next goal came from yet another backboard pass from MummiSnow presenting a chance to a teammate, and although Maestro missed an open goal as his shot squeezed off the crossbar, MummiSnow was on hand to finish the job for Fnatic.
MummiSnow was in action again as his shot rebounded agonisingly back off the crossbar, and after yet another shot from Maestro bounced down off the bar, MummiSnow pounced on the loose ball to make it 3-1 with two minutes left on the clock. Tehda almost helped reduce the arrears straight away, but after Distan failed to convert, Fnatic stormed to the other end of the pitch, and Snaski latched onto a beautiful pass from MummiSnow to give them a three-goal lead.
ROG Army began to tire and run out of ideas, and as time ticked away, Maestro scored Fnatic’s fifth goal of the game to quash any hopes of a comeback. Tahz tapped home two late consolation goals for ROG Army to make it 5-3, but Fnatic’s job was already done and the team took a deserved 3-1 series win.
Nordavind vs Epsilon
Having lost their opening Season 4 fixture to Hashtag United, Nordavind went into their match with Epsilon hoping to get their season back on track. The Norwegian side started well but Epsilon matched them, and the game remained scoreless in the opening stages.
Godsmilla was impressive in attack, but the Epsilon defence was solid and the game headed into the final minute without a goal for either side. Unfortunately for Nordavind, a mistake from Al Dente allowed Sebadam to grab the first goal of the game, and it looked as though their promising start was going to lead to nothing.
However, with 19 seconds left, Data stepped up to the plate and carried the ball to the Epsilon backboard to create a simple chance for Godsmilla to grab a deserved equaliser. The game went into overtime, and Bilbo had to produce two incredible saves to stop Data from getting the winner for Nordavind.
His excellent work in defence was rewarded as he scored the winner after Cheerio’s effort rebounded off the crossbar to give Epsilon a hard-fought win in Game 1 of the series.
After producing an expert defensive display in Game 1, slack defending from Epsilon allowed Al Dente to dribble the ball from halfway into an empty net and give Nordavind a much-needed lead. However, Cheerio levelled the scores soon after as Nordavind’s defence was found wanting.
The score stayed at 1-1 until the second-minute mark when Godsmilla found himself in space to slot home from Al Dente’s pass. The same player was in the thick of the action throughout, as shortly after making a fantastic save, Al Dente set up Data with a long-clear to make it 3-1.
With a Nordavind win on the cards and just over 30 seconds left to play, Cheerio grabbed a crucial goal after a brilliant air carry from Sebadam to give Epsilon a chance of forcing the game into overtime. Epsilon couldn’t find a winner despite throwing all three players forward, and the series was tied up at one game each.
Both Nordavind and Epsilon were keen to play the game in their opponent’s half with plenty of long-clears and a lack of cohesive passing. As time wore on, both teams became increasingly keen to ensure the other wouldn’t score, and despite a late barrage on the Epsilon goal, there were no winners, and the game went into overtime for the second time in the series.
Overtime didn’t last for long though, as after just seven seconds, Data connected with a roof pass from Al Dente to give Nordavind the lead in the series.
The fourth game of the series followed a similar pattern to the previous one, as both teams looked to try and force a mistake from the other with a series of long clears and tight defensive play. However, unlike the last game, the deadlock was broken after 1 minute and 32 seconds as Godsmilla’s brilliant dribble took the ball towards goal, and a mistimed clearance from Bilbo diverted the ball into his own goal.
Nordavind’s defence looked impressive as Epsilon strived for an equaliser to take the series to a fifth game. The Norwegian side were patient throughout and took their chance when it came as Data diverted a superb touch into the goal, leaving Epsilon staring down the barrel of a second defeat in two weeks.Epsilon’s defence couldn’t regain its composure after the goal from Data, and Godsmilla then stretched the lead to three goals with less than 90 seconds left to play. The third goal appeared to have knocked the stuffing out of Epsilon as their build-up play was too slow to forge any chance in the closing stages, and Nordavind closed out the game 3-0 to get their first win of Season 4.
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