Natus Vincere are through to the semi-final stage of IEM Beijing-Haidian’s European division following a convincing 2-0 victory over Astralis. The CIS team struggled during the opening stages of Overpass, but they were in control during the rest of the series against an off-colour Astralis side that never really got into their stride, not even on Inferno, their map choice due to not feeling at 100 per cent on Nuke, according to coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen.
NAVI’s star players, Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov, both put up solid numbers, but there was also an imperious display from Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy on Overpass. With confidence running high, they are looking like a strong contender to win the IEM Beijing title, with G2 being the next opponent in line for them.
Astralis did come out strongly on Overpass, where they raced to a 4-0 lead on the offence. A highly-contested period ensued as rounds kept going both ways, but then NAVI went on a 6-1 run to end the half with a narrow advantage, with Perfecto leading the charge with a 1.73 rating and a 104 ADR.
Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov opened up the action in the second half with a 1v2 clutch to deny Astralis what looked to be a sure win and Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth the ace in the decisive 1v1. That round loss hit the Danes hard, with NAVI riding their momentum to a 14-7 lead. Astralis still managed to get a couple of rounds on the board, but their response was quickly snuffed out as the CIS giants did not take long to lock up the map.
Astralis had a disastrous and low-energy start to the game on Inferno, where they won just one of the opening eight rounds on the T side. After calling a tactical pause, the Danish team picked up the pace and took control of proceedings, ending the half down by just one round.
There was more misery to come for Astralis as NAVI came out of the break full of energy, winning five rounds in a row to get closer to victory. Just like on Overpass, the Danes still tried to mount a response, but NAVI refused to take their foot on the gas and pushed on for another easy win.