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Published: March 4, 2023

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • It was a very close game with many unexpected 180-degree turns 
  • SAW continues forward in Group B of the Maltese tournament
  • Imperial will have to face Complexity in a last-chance match

In a game that saw multiple turnovers of long winning streaks, Portuguese team SAW sent Imperial fighting to stay alive in the ESL Pro League Season 17.

SAW Triumph Over Imperial

Portuguese squad SAW has not had it easy at the ESL Pro League Season 17, being relegated to Group B’s lower bracket and having to go up against Imperial in a tough match. Despite that, the roster pushed on, defeating their Brazilian opponents in a tough slog and sending them to face Complexity next in an elimination match.

SAW’s next opponent going forward will be the loser of the BIG vs. Heroic matchup in the lower bracket semifinal. Meanwhile, Imperial are just one loss away from elimination from the Maltese tournament and will need a miracle to run through the last-chance stage to advance to the playoffs. 

SAW Take the Early Lead

The match started on vertigo, where SAW’s João “?story?” Vieira, topped the charts with nearly 100 ADR. He helped his team take an early lead thanks to his 1v2 clutch in the first round and a crucial triple kill in the following one. By the end of the first six rounds, the Portuguese team was unmatched on the Terrorist side. 

Imperial finally woke up and countered hard in large part thanks to Gabriel “?FalleN?” Toledo’s AWP plays of ramp and the A bombsite. FalleN, who recently shared his CS:GO plans for 2024, helped Imperial string seven rounds in a row, but that was not enough, as SAW once again took the initiative, this time even harder than before. 

As the second half started, the Portuguese team put together a flawless defense of their own. Tiago “?JUST?” Moura was crucial for this, as he spearheaded a pistol round victory and conversion. Imperial were unable to answer during the whole second half, losing the map to SAW 7-16. 

Imperial Strike Back

Imperial were now motivated enough to not let SAW win. The team picked Overpass and took the early lead thanks to a 2v4 from Ricardo “?boltz?” Prass and FalleN in round four and a 2v2 win against pistols in the following round. This gave Imperial enough of a cushion as SAW put up a strong defense later. 

By the half time, Imperial were just one round in the lead, but managed to pull what SAW did to them on the previous map and run away with Overpass. This was largely thanks to several crucial multikills from Vinicius “?VINI?” Figueiredo on the B bombsite. The 23-year-old ended the CT side with a more than impressive 15-3 score and nearly 200 ADR.

The Last Round Decides Everything

Imperial forced the match to go on Nuke and easily breezed through the first half, gaining a significant lead by winning 11 rounds on the T-side. But just as it seemed like there might finally be a clear winner from this thought slog of a match, SAW revealed one last surprise. 

When Imperial chose to strengthen the A bombsite SAW adjusted to lower hits and quickly closed the round gap, equalizing the score to 12-12. It was all finally decided in the final round, largely thanks to Michel “?ewjerkz?” Pinto’s impressive 1v2 clutch.

The match proved to be a lot closer and tougher than most expected, but with a final result of 2-1, SAW continues forward in Group B, while Imperial is left with its last chance to stay alive in the Maltese tournament.

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