It was all or nothing in Week 6 of the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered by Domino’s as our FIFA 19 teams took to the pitch to decide who’d progress to the semi-finals, and who’d be sitting it out on the bench.
Envy vs Vitality
Envy had shown excellent form to date in the Elite Series, winning three and drawing three in their previous six games. This form had placed them first in Group A, and a win in either of their games would guarantee top spot along with a place in the semi-finals.
Vitality were sure to be no pushovers though, as they went into the games needing results after starting Week 6 in fourth place and one point behind exceL.
Vitality took an early lead in the first leg as some neat passing presented Cristiano Ronaldo with the chance to fire home from inside the area. Brian and Moolzn continued to press for Vitality, with Jan Oblak pulling off a few decent saves in the Envy goal.
Jablett and Joey couldn’t hold out until half-time though, as more neat passing from Vitality presented Hernan Crespo with a chance inside the box, and once more the Elite Series pros were caught out trying to get too create with their use of the goalkeeper as Oblak was left stranded.
With the score at 2-0, Vitality had a big let-off before the break as Peter Schmeichel came for a corner and got nowhere near the ball, but unfortunately for Envy, the header flew over the bar. There were no more goals in the second half as Vitality came through with a very professional performance which saw them stifle any chance of an Envy comeback.
The PS4 leg was a much more cagey affair, and it took a defensive error for the scoring to be opened. Alessandro del Piero dispossessed a lackadaisical Fabio Cannavaro in midfield, skipped past a despairing tackle and hit home to give Envy the lead. Vitality had just about had the better of the half, but couldn't turn their possession into a goal and went into half-time behind.
The same story continued after the break. Ronaldo came close with a header that hit the side netting, but it was a rare clear-cut opportunity in what was a scrappy match. As time ran out, Envy were canny and ran the clock down to secure their place as group winners, albeit by the skin of their teeth.
exceL vs Dream Team Gaming
The pressure seemed to be too much for exceL in the early stages as it was Dream Team looked the most likely to score. However, they just couldn't find a way through an effective opposition backline, and the teams went into the break level at 0-0.
The second period continued in much the same vein, and it seemed like Dream Team would take the lead on the hour mark when Antoine Griezmann found himself with an open goal, but Roberto Carlos managed to get in the way and force the shot wide for a corner.
Knowing they needed to win to stand any chance of progression, Dream Team continued to throw everything at their opponents, but it just wasn't happening and the game finished goalless.
With Dream Team now out, there was just pride on the line for them. However, there was plenty at stake for Vitality as they needed Dream Team to take something from the match to keep them in the running for the semis.
Sadly for them, it was a walk in the park for exceL, and the scoring was opened 25 minutes in when Eusebio fed Andriy Shevchenko who dragged back to smash home. It went from bad to worse for the Vitality boys in the build-up to half-time when Patrick Vieira found the top corner from outside the area.
exceL were showing much more fire and determination, and their superior play continued to tell in the second half as they dominated the game and had much the better chances. A third always looked on the way, and it came when Shevchenko swept home from Eusebio's low cross.
There was no way back now for Dream Team, and exceL saw out the 3-0 win to send themselves through and break Vitality hearts.
Nordavind vs ASUS ROG Army
ChnewaR and Diogo Peixoto lined up on the Xbox for Nordavind, with Hyper debuting alongside Diogo Peixoto on the PS4. ROG Army went with the same combo as previously seen in their match with Fnatic, with FerPerry and iHasiin taking to the stage for the Xbox leg before iHasiin made way for Xexuatm on the PS4.
With both teams knowing they needed to win, it was an open game, and both sides really went for it. Nordavind took the lead 28 minutes in though, with Luis Suarez knocking home. It didn't take long for ROG Army to strike back though as a loose pass allowed Ronaldo to feed Roberto Baggio, who made no mistake with a decisive strike.
The second half began in much the same way, with both sides equal. It was going to take something special to separate them, and it came on 58 minutes Baggio curled home a beauty to make it 2-1 to ROG Army. Nordavind piled on the pressure as the minutes ticked down, and they came agonisingly close in the last minute when Thierry Henry hit the underside of the crossbar, but they were out of luck and ROG Army saw out the result.
As things stood now, Nordavind needed a win in the PS4 game and if that happened ROG Army were out. Nordavind started stronger and took the lead on 25 minutes when some silky skills from Diego Maradona opened up space on the edge of the area, and a curled finish made it 1-0.
It was an open and exciting first half, with both sides giving their all, but there were no further goals, and Nordavind went into the half-time break ahead. ROG Army started brightly in the second half and won a penalty 56 minutes in when Neymar was brought down. Juan Sebastian Veron stepped up to take it, but his tame shot was comfortably saved by Samir Handanović.
ROG Army kept piling on the pressure though, and they were rewarded just after the hour mark when Veron fed Baggio for a spectacular finish. The bit between their teeth, ROG Army took the lead on 67 minutes through Neymar, but they couldn’t hold on, and Nordavind equalised through Messi. The point wasn’t enough though, and Nordavind crashed out.
AS Roma Fnatic vs Hashtag United
Season 3 champs Fnatic came into Week 6 knowing they couldn’t win Group B as Man City Epsilon were already 11 points clear, but they were in pole position in second place to grab a spot in playoffs. Rotating their starting roster, Rannerz joined Damie for the Xbox leg before Babosa took his place to make his Elite Series debut on the PS4.
Hashtag also needed a good performance to progress. The usual Xbox combo of Ryan and Shawreyy was altered slightly, with DreamR coming in for Ryan, and the Welshman remained onstage for the PS4 leg alongside another debutant in the shape of Honey Badger.
Needing the win, Hashtag came out strongest with van Dyke, Gullit and Pele having great chances. It wasn't until the 41st minute that they made a deserved breakthrough though. Pele played a short free-kick to Emilio Butragueno, who curled a stunning left-footed shot past the despairing dive of David de Gea in the Fnatic goal.
The goal gave Hashtag a critical cushion, and they looked very comfortable on the ball. Fnatic were solid as well, and Varane came close with a header from a corner, but Hashtag always looked in control, and another long-range shot - this time from Marco van Basten - doubled their lead. However, a technical glitch ruled the goal out and, after a break, play resumed for 15 minutes with Hashtag a goal up.
Knowing they needed to pull something out of the bag, Fnatic came out all guns blazing and, just as it seemed that hope was lost, Laurent Blanc equalised by heading home after Socrates hit the crossbar from a corner. There wasn't enough time for much more play, and the game finished 1-1.
So, it all came down to the final game, with Hashtag needing just a draw to see them through and dump out ROG Army out courtesy of their head-to-head results. Knowing this, Hashtag looked to control the play, making sure they didn't concede possession unnecessarily. As a result, there were few clear-cut chances in an even first half, and the two teams went into the break level at 0-0.
It was much the same in the second half until some fantastic footwork from Marco van Basten created something out of nothing and put Hashtag ahead in the 64th minute. Fnatic now needed two goals to send Hashtag out and giveROG Army a lifeline, but despite a few glimpses of goal - notably from Mo Salah in the dying minutes - it never looked like happening. Hashtag saw out their win and progressed through to the knockouts.
So the line-up for the semi-finals is now complete, with Envy, exceL and Method making it out of Group A and Man City Epsilon, Hashtag United and AS Roma Fnatic going through from Group B.
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