The second phase of the ESL Pro League Season 10 group stage kicked off with the two highest-ranked teams of group A facing off straight away: G2 and NiP. The French-Serbian squad picked Dust2 to start the action, going up 5-0 on the Terrorist side before Simon “twist” Eliasson managed to stop the onslaught with an AWP triple kill. It didn’t add up to much, though, as G2 were up 9-6 for the half, and closed out the map on the defensive side with a six-round streak.
Inferno was next up, where G2 continued their strong form. As CTs, Nemanja “nexa” Isaković‘s team put up an impressive display, finishing 10-5 up in part thanks to two 1v2 clutches on A by François “AmaNEk” Delaunay. Things were looking dire for the Swedes who were a map behind and 13-8 down on Inferno, but thanks to an inspired Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora, a couple of multifrag rounds from twist, and a triple-collateral from Fredrik “REZ” Sterner, NiP managed to come back and steal away their map pick, 16-13.
Mirage was left to settle the score, and NiP took over the momentum from Inferno, grabbing a 5-0 T-side lead. After a poor start, G2 struggled to string rounds together, ending the half 10-5 down. The Swedish side reached 14 rounds soon after that, and then completely broke G2 by winning a full USP-S eco in which twist bagged an ace.
Next up were BIG and North, with Mirage being the map pick of German team. After a 2-0 start for them, North bounced back with four of their own, but they were not able to keep it up for the rest of the half, which went BIG‘s way convincingly, 9-6. Ismailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz, and Tizian “tiziaN” Feldbusch all had their shining moments as BIG pushed onwards, eventually claiming the map dominantly, 16-7.
Train had a back-and-forth start, but after winning the pistol and losing the subsequent round, tabseN stepped up, claimed a triple, and set up his team for an early lead. North didn’t falter, though, and picked up six rounds on the offensive side before switching to the defense and equalizing the scoreline at 9-9 after the pistol and followups.
With some impressive plays by Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye coming in, North managed chain seven rounds together (13-9), but then tiziaN and tabseN combined for all five kills to stop the bleeding. BIG then brought it back to 14-14, but they were unable to convert that score into a map win, with North securing the last two to force the decider.
Both teams won strings of rounds early into Nuke as the score went from 5-0 to 5-4, but BIG kept the lead throughout their CT half, finishing 9-6 up despite René “cajunb” Borg‘s best efforts on the opposite side. The first two rounds of the second half also went BIG‘s way, but then North looked impeccable on the defense when the rifles came into play tying the score at 11-11. From that point onward, rounds were traded back and forth, the score once again getting to 14-14. Unlike on Train, North were unable to close Nuke out in regulation, but eventually edged out the map after three overtimes, 25-21.
Two of the four teams in the group will advance to the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, where squads like Astralis, Liquid, and Evil Geniuses have already secured spots. The standings in the second ESL Pro League Season 10 Europe group stage are now as follows: