Week 6 promised to be a fiercely competitive one as the final Rocket League playoff places would be decided in the Gfinity Elite Series Delivered by Domino’s. With only Method already qualified for Finals Week, there was everything to play for as every team still stood a chance of going all the way in Season 4.
Fnatic vs Hashtag United
The formidable roster of Maestro, MummiSnow and Snaski took to the stage once more as Fnatic went into their series against Hashtag knowing that a win would secure their safe passage to the semi-finals. Hashtag had also impressed throughout Season 4, but eekso, jakeypoo and Rafro slipped to defeat in Week 5, and a defeat would leave them susceptible to being overtaken by Nordavind later in the day.
Having jostled for possession in a scrappy opening 90 seconds, Fnatic grabbed the first goal of the day as Maestro latched onto a poor clearance from jakeypoo to make it 1-0. The lead was doubled soon after when, following a long period of pressure, Snaski pounced to score from close range.
Fnatic took the game further away from Hashtag when MummiSnow finished another neat move, and it seemed as though there was nothing Hashtag could do to counteract Fnatic’s fearsome attacking play. However, Hashtag got back into the game after an aerial dribble followed by a demo from eesko dragged his side back into the contest with the score at 3-1.
The three-goal lead was restored soon after though, as with Hashtag flooding downfield, MummiSnow finished a simple chance to restore Fnatic’s cushion. Maestro then made it 5-1 as they swarmed the Hashtag goal, leaving him with a tap-in to secure the first game for Fnatic.
Hashtag started the second game nervily, but they managed to ride the storm, and some great work from eekso resulted in Snaski slamming the ball into his own goal. eekso produced a moment of magic to grab the second goal of the game as he flipped the ball over the Fnatic defender from a tight angle to make it 2-0.
Fnatic roared back into the game shortly after, as MummiSnow won the ball in midfield and surged forward before eventually scoring with a block shot. Despite consistent pressure from Fnatic, Hashtag had the better chance to get the crucial fourth goal of the game, but eekso couldn’t convert. He didn’t live to regret the miss though, as Hashtag held on to level the series.
Hashtag came into the game knowing that a win in either of the next two games would secure their place in the playoffs, and it was Hashtag who maintained early pressure on their opponents, albeit without finding an opening goal. Fnatic responded well, will Snaski going close as his shot was cleared off the line by a desperate Hashtag defender.
The game continued to be addled with nervy play as we headed into the last 60 seconds scoreless. MummiSnow went close as his shot rebounded off the post, and it seemed like Fnatic would be the more likely winners as time ticked away. Ultimately, there were no winners to be found, and we went into overtime.
Rafro made an amazing save in the early knockings of overtime to keep Hashtag in the contest, but it was all in vain as MummiSnow found the crucial goal, tapping home a backboard pass to leave the series poised at 2-1.
With so much on the line, the fourth game started slowly once more, but Hashtag looked to try and improve from the previous game. eekso shot narrowly over after 90 seconds, but Hashtag’s rotations broke down, and this allowed Fnatic to sweep up the other end and score through Snaski.
MummiSnow went close as the game wore on, but his effort was cleared off the line, and then Snaski missed a huge chance to take control of the game when his shot on an open goal rebounded off the post and bar. Hashtag were holding on for dear life, and Maestro almost put the game beyond them when his shot was just touched away from goal at the last moment.
There was an air of inevitability about Fnatic’s second goal, and eventually it was MummiSnow who converted to leave Hashtag in a perilous position with fewer than 60 seconds left on the clock. That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Hashtag, and MummiSnow grabbed his second of the game as he followed up on Maestro’s missed effort to make it 3-0.
The 3-1 series win for Fnatic meant that they topped the group and will progress straight through to the semi-finals. Hashtag’s hopes of making the playoffs were now out of their hands, and they would need a big win for ROG Army over Nordavind to keep their Season 4 hopes alive.
Nordavind vs ASUS ROG ARMY
Al Dente, Data and Godsmilla went into the series knowing that a win would see them sneak into the playoffs. For ROG Army, Flux came back into the starting roster as he replaced Tahz to make his second appearance of Season 4 alongside ever-presents Tehda and Distan.
Nordavind suffered a terrible start after Data missed an easy clear to present Distan with a simple chance to make it 1-0 to ROG Army. Data made amends for his error shortly after though, as he followed in on Godsmilla’s backboard double tap to level the score.
After a fast start, the game turned a little scrappy as both teams tried to get into the series. Godsmilla missed a good chance to give Nordavind the lead on three minutes, and he was made to regret his miss when Distan finished well to give ROG Arm the lead with 24 seconds left to play. With the clock on zero, Nordavind produced an incredible play to keep the ball in the air and present Al Dente with the chance to take Game 1 to overtime.
Al Dente was the man for Nordavind in overtime, as his double touch, slightly aided by a missed touch from the ROG Army defender, ensured that the Norwegian side took the first game.
Nordavind made a disciplined start in the second game of the series, as they tried to maintain control of the midfield and wait for a mistake from ROG Army. However, it was ROG Army who took the lead after a simple backboard pass presented Flux with an easy to chance to make it 1-0.
Having started better but finding themselves behind, Nordavind worked hard to try and get back into the game, but once more ROG Army hit them with a sucker-punch as a long ball up to Tehda gave him the chance to divert home and double their lead.
A wonderful move from Nordavind then resulted in Godsmilla shooting on goal, but Flux made a fantastic save to keep it at 2-0. Tehda then made another good save as Nordavind pressed hard for the goal to get them back in the game with less than a minute to play. ROG Army had an uncharacteristically calm end to the game as they kept Nordavind out to level the series at one game apiece.
Capitalising on an early midfield whiff from Godsmilla, ROG Army brought the ball forward, and Flux’s goalbound shot was tapped in by Tehda inside the first minute to make it 1-0. Nordavind hit back soon after, as the ball broke to Data upfield and he scored one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score to level the game.
Nordavind applied the pressure, and ROG Army struggled to get the ball clear with several whiffs showing how nervous both teams were. The pressure eventually told, as after ROG Army’s third man went missing, Al Dente rolled the ball into the goal to make it 2-1. The scores were level once again soon after, as a bad touch from Al Dente was blocked by Flux, and the ball rolled agonisingly into the goal.
Al Dente made up for his mistake, as after some poor play in defence from ROG Army, Godsmilla turned the ball into the middle for Al Dente to finish with 45 seconds left to play. ROG Army couldn’t create any chances late on, and Nordavind took the lead in the series once more.
The fourth game was a cagey affair, with Nordavind’s best chance of the opening two minutes cleared away comfortably by Distan. There wasn’t too much cohesive team play from ROG Army, as Nordavind seemed more likely to get the opening goal.
After continuous Nordavind pressure, ROG Army couldn’t relieve the pressure as each clearance seemed very nervy, and the constant attacks paid off as Godsmilla grabbed the first goal of the game. It was 2-0 shortly after as a bizarre pass into the centre from Distan fell to Data, and with an open goal in front of him, he made no mistake.
Tehda then had a good aerial shot cleared off the line, and Data then had to make a decent save from Flux to keep their two-goal lead intact. More chaotic defensive play from ROG Army then allowed Nordavind to score a third, with Data slamming home yet another easy chance to give Nordavind a healthy lead with less than a minute left.
Data grabbed his third inside the last minute as he tapped in from close range after good work from Godsmilla on the left-hand side. Al Dente then put the icing on the cake as he grabbed a fifth as time ticked away, and the series win for Nordavind means that they head through to the playoffs with Fnatic and Epsilon. Defeat for ROG Army also means that they are eliminated from the Elite Series along with Hashtag United.
exceL vs Reason
exceL had looked much-improved in Week 6, and as such, it came as no surprise to see them field the same roster of Breezi, Nielskoek and Pwndx. Sitting in third on 4 points at the start of the day, exceL knew a win would guarantee them a playoff spot, but anything less would leave them reliant on an Envy win later in the day to see them through.
Reason came into the weekend up against it as they sat bottom with just 3 points to their name. This meant that Calix, Pugsay and Shakahron would need to force a series win and hope that Vitality lost out to Envy in the next match for them to sneak into third place in the Group B table.
The series started evenly with both teams looking for the early advantage, and the contrasting styles of play made for an interesting exchange in the opening minutes. Calix got the opening goal of the series with almost four minutes played, as his wonderful strike took out two of the exceL defenders to find the top corner.
exceL then had a moment of fortune as Nielskoek’s shot bounced off both posts to leave the Reason defence floundering, and the same man followed in on his own shot to make it 1-1 inside the last minute. Neither team could force a winner as the game wound to its conclusion, and the first game of the series went to overtime.
Overtime was finished almost as soon as it began, as Pugsay pounced on a failed dribble from Nielskoek following the kick-off to clinch the first game.
Reason got the first goal of the second game with Shakahron scoring after a good read from a ceiling pass. The lead was doubled with Reason counter attacking exceL, as after Pwndx’s shot was blocked, Shakahron found himself in acres of space to slot into an empty goal.
Pugsay then made it 3-0, as after Calix’s shot bounced agonisingly down off the angle of post and bar, the former Epsilon man was on hand to score from close range. Shakahron then got his third of the game with a long clear finding no-one at home for exceL, and as the game approached the halfway mark, Reason held an imposing 4-0 lead.
With the odds stacked against them, exceL got their first of the game as Nielskoek played a nice ball infield for Pwndx to score. Calix almost restored the four-goal lead as his flick bounced back off the bar, and Reason looked in full control as the game reached its conclusion. Shakahron grabbed another goal with one second left on the clock, and Reason needed just one more win to take the series and make the playoffs.
Needing a good start if they were to stand any chance of pulling off a reverse sweep, exceL began in storming fashion as a poor clear from Pugsay was seized upon by Breezi, allowing him to set up Pwndx for the opener. Pwndx was on hand less than ten seconds later to get a second as his weak shot could only be diverted into his own net by Shakahron.
The score was soon 3-0, as even after an incredible open-goal miss from Pwndx, Nielskoek was there to turn the ball in. Reason pushed forward as they tried to get back into the game, but another infield pass split their defence to find Pwndx in space to take the game away from Reason. Pwndx then grabbed his fourth as he flipped the ball over two defenders before blocking Calix’s goal-line clearance.
The floodgates had well and truly opened, as Pwndx took the ball around Calix before scoring from a tight angle to make it 6-0 and bring exceL back into the series.
With the drubbing in the previous game on their mind, Reason seemed reluctant to venture too far upfield. They were made to pay for their cautious tactics, as a shot rebounded back off the post before being missed by the exceL defender, but everyone from Reason had stayed back on rotation.
Reason were left regretting that miss even more so soon after, as Breezi played a beautiful one-two to grab his first goal of the series and give exceL the lead. Nielskoek almost made it 2-0 as his shot bounced down off the crossbar, and he was made to rue his miss shortly after as a pass from him didn’t make it far enough downfield, allowing Shakahron to score and make it 1-1.
Pugsay was then on hand to give Reason a vital lead after he latched onto Calix’s pass, and exceL had less than 90 seconds to save their season. With 51 seconds left to play, Pwndx came up with a crucial goal as he converted a loose ball in midfield to bring the scores level and send the game to overtime.
Both teams went all-out for the win in overtime, and ultimately it was Calix who grabbed the important goal for Reason as he took advantage of a defensive whiff to score from close range. The result meant that Reason would qualify for the playoffs unless Vitality beat Envy 3-2 in the final game of the day, and unfortunately, exceL’s season was over.
Envy vs Renault Vitality
A repeat of last season’s final, the last game of the group stages was essentially a playoff in itself, as a win for either team would see them progress to the playoffs in Week 7. Mout, Oscillon and Winther (rebranding for the second time in the series to “Summer”) would need to be on their game against the reigning champions, as although losing bonus point would be enough for Envy to qualify for the playoffs, they could hardly afford to be complacent as the last Rocket League group game got underway.
Oscillon scored the first goal of the series with a wonderful piece of individual play, flicking the ball over an onrushing Vitality defender to make it 1-0 to Envy. Neqzo grabbed an equaliser shortly after, as Mout and Oscillon found themselves at sixes and sevens, and the score was level at 1-1.
A touchdown from Winther then found Mout in space in midfield, and with no-one covering for Vitality, he had an easy chance to take the lead as the game approached the halfway mark. Oscillon was then on hand to make a good save from Neqzo to keep Envy’s lead intact.
However, a double commit from Vitality overwhelmed the Envy defence with 40 seconds left to play, and Fairy Peak squeezed home a bounce shot to bring Vitality level for the second time in the game. With neither side then able to force a winner, the first game of the series headed into overtime.
Fairy Peak and Neqzo both had shots well saved by Mout in the early part of overtime, and Vitality seemed to be on the front foot. However, out of nowhere, Oscillon made a fantastic read on Neqzo as he tried to keep the ball in the corner, and Envy took the first game in the series.
Winther missed an excellent opportunity to score inside the first minute for Envy, but his shot skewed just wide. After that opening, precious few chances were forthcoming either side.
At the halfway mark, Paschy made an unbelievable save from Oscillon to keep the score level in a game that increasingly seemed like it could be decided by a single goal. Neqzo then had a great chance to score with a minute left to play, but he could only fire straight at the Envy defender in the centre of the goal.
There were fewer chances in the final minute, and for the second game in a row we went to overtime in search of a winner. Mout made an important save in the first few seconds of overtime as Fairy Peak looked to get Vitality back into the series, but the scores stayed level as time ticked on. Ultimately, Paschy came up with the winning goal as he flipped the ball over Mout to level the series.
With a minute played, another poor clearance to the centre from Paschy could only find Mout who then had a simple chance to give Envy the 1-0 lead. Winther then came up with the play of the day as he produced a demo on the backboard before touching the ball down into the path of Oscillon for him to shoot into an empty goal.
It took another moment of brilliance to get Vitality back into the game, as an aerial pass from Fairy Peak found Neqzo in space to make it 2-1. Neqzo then had a similar chance to bring the scores level, but this time the angle was working against him and Envy managed to smuggle the ball clear.
As the game entered the last 30 seconds, Envy struggled to keep the ball away from Vitality as they applied to pressure, but somehow they managed to hang on and get the ball to the floor near their own goal. Having won two games in the series, Envy were assured of at least a losing bonus, sealing second place in Group A along with safe passage through to the playoffs.
The fourth game started fast as Mout had a shot cleared off the line inside the first few seconds. Fairy Peak made another good save for Vitality as he made an excellent read to save a low shot from Oscillon. With their season on the line, Vitality clung on as the game stayed scoreless past the halfway mark.
A goal was coming, but it was Vitality who struck as Neqzo’s shot found the bottom corner after he connected with a wonderful pass from Fairy Peak. Vitality tried to keep the pressure on Envy, but Oscillon produced yet another brilliant solo play as he flicked the ball over Neqzo to score.
The game was then flipped on its head as Envy took the lead through Mout after his block rebounded off the wall and into an empty Vitality goal. With less than a minute left to get a goal and keep their playoff hopes alive, Vitality had it all to do, but they couldn’t create any opportunities of note, and Envy took the series 3-1.
The result meant that Envy had their revenge over Vitality having lost out to them in the Season 3 final as the reigning champions were knocked out of the Elite Series. Vitality’s defeat also meant that Reason qualified for the playoffs as they finished in third place in Group A.
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