Natus Vincere advanced to the ESL Pro League Season17 quarter-finals after defeating #Outsiders in a tense two-map match. Denis #electroNic Sharipov and friends took first blood after barely converting their Ancient pick (16-14), then eliminated the Russians in 9-12th place after a strong performance on Mirage. (16-7).
The win is Natus Vincere’s fourth in a run over Dzhami #Jame Ali’s soldiers, and their second in 2023, after the Ukrainian lineup defeated Outsiders back in February at IEM Katowice, sending the Russian squad packing in 5-6th place.
Outsiders had a solid start to their Ancient pick, with Jame’s last-second 1vs1 clutch in round four giving the Russian team with a platform to establish a 4-1 advantage on the CT-side. Natus Vincere, armed with four Desert Eagles and a single AK-47, didn’t get back on the board until the eighth round, and it didn’t take long for NAVI to work their way back into the game. Oleksandr #s1mple Kostyliev and Valeriy #b1t Kostyliev. Vakhovskiy made a consistent impression round after round, going on to record 12 and 13 kills, respectively, to cut Outsiders’ advantage to one round at the half.
Andrii #npl Kukharskyi raised his kill tally from four to seven to win his side the second pistol, with Natus Vincere gaining the series lead for the first time after the subsequent convert, 9-8. A single Outsiders round victory knotted things up at nine rounds apiece, but Natus Vincere answered with a run of total CT-side supremacy, even having an answer for Jame’s pace-changing decisions, to win 15-11. Evgenii #FL1T delivers a stunning triple kill — and a 1vs1 clutch. Outsiders hung on a little longer thanks to Lebedev, but NAVI sealed the deal at the last available instant to win 16-14 and send the match to Mirage.
At the start of Mirage, Natus Vincere moved from strength to strength, with electroNic and s1mple combining for 16 kills to give the Majority-Ukrainian squad a 5-0 advantage on defense. Alexey #Qikert Golubev rushes the B bombsite and wins a 1vs2 clutch. Outsiders came back into the game in the seventh round, with the Russo-Kazahk team going on a four-round run to stay in competition. Unfortunately, this mid-half burst was the extent of Jame’s men’s efforts, with their opponents leading by three rounds at the side switch.
To begin the second session, Natus Vincere went two-for-two in pistol rounds, scooping up the conversion before a 1vs3 clutch from Ilya #Perfecto Zalutskiy won his squad the first gun round, giving them a 12-6 lead. Natus Vincere pulled off a 3vs5 comeback in the 20th round to take a 14-6 lead, and from there it was just a matter of taking care of business, with the Ukrainians easily winning the series, 16-7.
Natus Vincere will now prepare for their quarter-final match against Heroic, which is set to begin at 15:30 on Thursday. The series is anticipated to be one of the most intense fights of the 32-team competition thus far, with both rosters ranking among the top three in the world and Natus Vincere looking for vengeance after being knocked out of IEM Katowice by the Danes in February.