Wednesday, May 01, 2019
FIFA 19: eChampions League qualifiers throws up surprises as new FUT champ will be crowned
ou hear the music, and chills run down your spine. The Champions League anthem can even affect fans in their living rooms, let alone out on the pitch, but for professional gamers on FIFA 19, the two worlds collided this past week at the eChampions League qualifiers in Manchester.
The FIFA 19 Global Series has been a hit for players and fans alike, and with the EA Sports big hitter claiming the UEFA Champions League rights this year, the eChampions League has followed domestic competitions such as the ePremier League, Virtual Bundesliga and Virtual La Liga eSports in taking a slice of the FIFA esports pie.
A twist came with the eChampions League however, with the competition endorsed by PlayStation 4, it meant that even the world’s finest Xbox One players had to adapt to the Sony console. That was detriment to world number one Donovan “F2Tekkz” Hunt and reigning world champion Mosaad “Rogue Msdossary” Aldossary, who are both Xbox players, as both men crashed out in the round of 32 stage.
Eight men booked passaged to the eCL finals in Madrid, to take place on the eve of the UEFA Champions League final on Friday, 31 May. Just like the real-life Champions League this season, the underdogs have taken their chances, with none of the quarter-finalists having won any silverware in the FIFA 19 Global Series.
Joksan “coL Joksan” Redona, Lev “xLevVinken” Vinken and Christopher “NYC_Chris” Holly all reside in the top 10 in the PS4 Global Series rankings, and they were joined by former eClub World Cup Champion and world PS4 runner-up Marcus “Marcuzo” Jorgensen as well as Henrique “TG Zezinho” Lempke and Alan “AlanAvi” Avila.
Two Xbox men did manage to upset the status quo by performing on their opposing console in the former of Fouad “Vitality Rafsou” Fares and Ivan “DrNightWatch” Churov.
F2Tekkz 4-6 DrNightWatch
After waltzing through the group stage 4-0, cracks began to show for main man F2Tekkz on his unfamiliar console, with a nervy 5-4 victory over Diego “DUX diegog1996” Gonzalez. Despite that, he was still the clear favourite against DrNightWatch, ranked 47th, also an Xbox player. NightWatch took a surprise 3-1 lead after the first leg thanks to goals from Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, cuing a to and fro in the second leg. With Tekkz chasing the contest, the gaps were there for his Bulgarian opponent to exploit, and 3-3 draw meant the underdog went through 6-4.
AlanAvi 5-4 Mence
In a battle of the more unknown players it was AlanAvi who triumphed over world 502 Abdelhamid “Mence” Fares. AlanAvi came out the traps quickly, scoring through the Kylian Mbappe, but two goals from Neymar flipped the tie in Mence’s favour. The pair continued to change blows with Alan popping in a Ruud Gullit and Mence smashing in with Mbappe once more, with the first leg finishing well poised at 3-3. Mbappe bagged yet another for Mence, but a goalkeeping positioning error allowed Ronaldo to fire in a tight angle for Alan, and a huge defensive mix-up in injury time allowed the American to snatch the win and a place in the finals in Madrid.
coL Joksan *5-5 Paps1 (*Joksan wins 4-3 on pens)
The back and forth hit new heights in the tie between Joksan and Tim “Paps1” Katnawatos, who exchanged a 9-8 thriller. Paps took a surprise lead and then doubled his advantage halfway through the first leg with a looping Neymar header. Joksan did manage to respond through R9 but was pegged back once more by a quickfire Kylian Mbappe brace. A late Eusebio strike at least gave him a greater chance and momentum with the score at 4-2. The American Joksan responded well in the second match, taking it 3-1 and forcing penalties, snatching the tie with a Marcelo spot kick.
TG Zezinho 5-3 FUTWIZ Tom
It was parity at 2-2 after the first leg between Zezinho and Tom “FUTWIZ Tom” Leese, and it wasn’t until just after half-time in the second tie that Zezinho pulled ahead. He managed to squirm the ball under Edwin van der Sar with Cristiano Ronaldo, and it was the same scorer who gave him one foot in the last eight with a bullet header. The game was wrapped up when Zezinho bent one into the top corner with Eusebio, even with a late Mbappe consolation for Tom.
Vitality Maestro 0-7 Vitality Rafsou
Few would have called the result between Vitality teammates Corentin “Vitality Maestro” Thuillier and Rafsou, especially considering Maestro’s form at the recent FIFA eNations Cup. The French champion fell 7-0 to Rafsou, with an early brace from Eusebio and an effort from Mbappe get the job done in the first leg and Maestro failing to recover.
frontale FIFA 2-3 NYC_Chris
The cagiest affair in the quarter-finals came between the Japanese “frontale FIFA” and NYC Chris. The American took a 1-0 lead into the second leg, and the crucial game came early, rifalling in with Mbappe. Frontale gave himself a chance with half an hour gone thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo, but Neymar strike that went in off the post for Chris booked his spot in the eCL quarters.
Marcuzo 4-3 kossu72
Marcuzo was the clear favourite going into the clash against Jesse “Kossu” Kosamo, but he was still made to work by the Finn. After drawing 2-2 in the first leg, Marcuzo moved ahead early in the second leg, but a Gareth Bale header restored parity once more. A great piece of trickery from Marcuzo’s R9 Ronaldo made the difference however, waltzing through the defence and placing the ball past David De Gea.
xLevVinken 7-2 RBL Cihan
Lev met Cihan “RBL Cihan” Yasarlar in the final tie of the round 16, and the in-form Dutchman showed his quality with a well worked goal finished off my Cristiano Ronaldo. Neymar soon made it two, Cihan got his goal late on in the first leg following a corner to keep him at the 2-1 after the first leg. An early brace from Patrick Vieira for Lev undid all of Cihan’s work, and the Dutchman continued to pile on the goals to take a 7-2 win and a place in the Madrid quarter-finals.
Stay tuned to the FIFA social channels for the eChampions League finals and the rest of the FIFA 19 Global Series season.