Nick J. January 25, 2020
Espada surprised an entire region on Friday by defeating Nemiga Gaming to become the WINNERS League Season 3 European champions.
Neither fans nor the oddsmakers saw this one coming. Espada beat Nemiga 2-0 with a 16-13 win on Nemiga's map pick, Nuke, while managing to take their own pick as well in a miraculous comeback on Overpass.
Given how DreamHack Open Leipzig's opening matches were a snoozefest, WINNERS League Season 3 likely offered fans the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive action of the day.
Espada owned Nemiga's Nuke, Dima showed off in WINNERS League Finals
When Espada lost the initial pistol round, the majority of viewers expected Nemiga to dominate, as they did throughout WINNERS League Season 3. After seven rounds, however, it was clear that this wasn't the same Nemiga or the same Espada that fans had been watching.
By the end of the first half, Espada had held their ground against Nemiga, but momentum had swung back in the Belarusians' favor with an 8-7 score. Espada and Nemiga traded the first six rounds of the second half before Dmitriy "Dima" Bandurka decided he'd rather play Overpass.
Dima clutched an impressive one versus three to tie the game at 12-12 before Espada finally ended the map 16-13. Three of Espada's five players posted a rating higher than 1.29 while Vladislav "FinigaN" Usov led the team with an 86.2% KAST.
Espada pulls off amazing comeback to win EU WINNERS League Season 3
When Overpass started, it looked like Nemiga had finally warmed up. They immediately took control on the CT side, stifling Espada at every turn. By the end of the first half, Nemiga seemingly had the game in the bag with a 12-3 lead.
In a CT side performance that brought back memories of Cloud9's comeback win against FaZe Clan at the 2018 ELEAGUE Boston Major, Espada ran it back on their CT side. The team only allowed two rounds on defense, besting the favored Nemiga 16-14 and claiming the European WINNERS League Season 3 title for their own.
While Espada was the underdog coming into the finals, they left as champions. The match concludes WINNERS League's third season on a high note during the first real day of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition in 2020.
Espada will wear the crown until they return to defend it in WINNERS League Season 4 or relinquish it for another up-and-coming team to claim.