WRAP | Umzansi Esports League Season 3
Six weeks of gameplay have now concluded in the Umzansi Esports League, with tons of action over the course of the weeks five and six that has changed the tenor and tone of the league. Things were starting to look like the early table standings were set in stone, and that our top four to advance to the playoffs would be easy to determine. Time would show how wrong that was, and now we have an extremely tight race in the runup to the Playoffs.
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Consistency Over Class
Proceedings in Week 5 showed off some extremely close matchups, where almost every game went down to the absolute wire.
Week 5: Matchday 1
Things began with the young “Bobo_Beast” taking on the Bravado veteran “Deevak”, a matchup which would be quite easy for “Deevak” on paper. “Bobo_Beast” however, reminded us that this game is not played on paper. Despite conceding two goals fairly early on in the first leg, he never allowed “Deevak” to find his rhythm and momentum to completely crush him.
Playing exceptionally well in his defensive game, he was preventing any further opportunities from building up from “Deevak”, managing to pull a single goal back for himself in the process.
This defensive form would carry over into the second leg, allowing “Bobo_Beast” to largely control the possession of the game, and allow him two early goals to bring him into pole position for the first time in the match.
Sadly, these successes in defence would ultimately not be enough, as a marksman of “Deevak’s” quality would never be kept at bay forever. Finding the back of net in eerily similar fashion to the goals scored in leg 1, “Deevak” would then switch to try controlling the game, allowing him to comfortably close out the tie with only a one goal lead.
Week 5: Matchday 2
Scenes of a very different nature took place in the explosive tie between “Masoom” from Bravado Gaming and “Unfaizdd” from Goliath Gaming. As expected of a game between these two, things were largely too close to call, and we got to see markedly different styles from the players. “Masoom” focused largely on a solid defensive line which would control possession, and build up the play slowly towards goal. “Unfaizdd” on the other hand favoured his signature dribbling runs as he tried to break down his opponent’s defence. Though “Masoom” scored the first goal early on, “Unfaizdd” rallied immediately to bring things level in mere seconds. This would set the tone for the rest of the match, as almost ever move made was countered by their opponent no matter how stellar it was.
As the match was drawing to a close however, “Masoom” took advantage of a single mistake made by “Unfaizdd” which would allow him to score the all-important tiebreaker goal at the 89th minute. With no time left for “Unfaizdd” to counter, he would be left hoping for redemption within the second leg.
Sadly for him, that game would play out almost exactly the same as leg 1. Early goals from both players would bring them level in this game, however with the pressure all on “Unfaizdd” to try claw back the goal deficit he was under.
It ultimately would not come to pass and “Masoom” would go on to claim the victory from this tie, putting him in pole position in the group for now.
Week 5: Matchday 3
Whilst these previous matchups were close, the game between the former Bravado man “Mobizilla” and “Yvng_Savage” from Goliath, was anything but. “Mobizilla” had been struggling for form and consistency, unable to regain former flashes of brilliance since in previous seasons of the League.
Meanwhile “Yvng_Savage” had been on the come-up, clearly improving and honing his style of attacking play and seeming like one to watch as things got closer to the Playoffs. With all this, his run thus far in the League had certainly been memorable.
For him though, this would certainly be a game to forget as he was controlled from start to finish by “Mobizilla”. “Mobizilla” was often questioned for playing a fairly unorthodox and unique team, however today his choices began to bear fruit as we saw the rationale behind his player choices. Over the course of the two legs, though he was able to claw back a single goal in both legs, it was all one-way traffic and “Mobizilla” easily slotted five past his opponent.
For a player who is generally not known for high scoring, this not only represented a peak for him in the league, but also granted him his first ever win in this current season.
Upsets, Blowouts, and Returns
Week 6 would have an interesting set of ties. On paper, none of the matchups seemed remotely close and had clear favourites, but the last week had shown us that things were starting to change in the landscape of the league, so this would week would either continue, or buck that trend.
Week 6: Matchday 1
“DarthMayhem” would start off proceedings by taking on the Goliath talisman, “TheBeastBianchi”, in a very lopsided tie that had markedly different stakes for the players. At this stage, tied for first place in the group, a victory for the Goliath player would allow him to leapfrog to the top of the table. Meanwhile, “Darthmayhem” was simply looking to find any kind of points on the board, as he had yet to register anything outside of three losses. He simply couldn’t afford to lose this game, as doing so would almost certainly earmark him for relegation.
Fighting for his tournament life, “DarthMayhem” would need to dig deeper than he ever had before to try and overcome the titan before him.
We saw definite signs of life from the young player in the first leg, as despite losing the game 4-2, he nonetheless slotted some incredible goals past his opponent. Seeming like he would not go gently into the night, things looked slated for a very competitive leg 2, with “DarthMayhem” leaving it all on the table and chasing the game from the onset.
Sadly, none of this would come to pass and the second leg could more accurately be called an abattoir. “TheBeastBianchi” absolutely demolished his opponent, crushing him from the onset with dominant possession, incisive passes and clinical finishes.
When the dust had all settled, the score line was 6-1. It was clear not only who was the dominant force in the tie, but which destinies each player would face over the coming weeks. Playoffs for “TheBeastBianchi”, and fighting for survival for “DarthMayhem”.
Week 6: Matchday 2
The next day saw an incredibly intriguing tie, as Bravado’s “Deevak” took on his former teammate “Mobizilla”. For “Deevak” victory would mean jumping into second place, with only goal difference holding him back from being on top. “Mobizilla” was playing to show not only that his victory in the previous week was not a fluke, but also to show that he still had the quality despite no longer being part of Bravado Gaming.
Of course, with players with this much history between them, the game was bound to be one with a lot of tension. That tension began to build when “Mobizilla” found the opening goal of the tie early in the first half. With only one goal in it, “Deevak” would need to score but wouldn’t be under too much pressure to do so…so he would think.
“Mobizilla” would make it seem impossible to come back. Stifling play in midfield and charging down any attacking players before they could spend any significant time on the ball. This pressure was working very well, and the game stretched longer and longer with only that one goal in it. To make matters worse, “Deevak” would suffer massive bad luck. Being caught offside in goalscoring positions twice, and hitting the woodwork just as many times.
Eventually though, “Deevak” would pop-off an incredible run to find himself through on goal, and then equalize the tie. One would imagine that things would end this way, but in the 89th minute, “Mobizilla” ran through a cracker of a goal to go into the 2nd Leg ahead on aggregate!
“Deevak” would not panic though, as he felt that he had actually gotten his opponent’s number. Playing calmly into the next game, he found a goal close to end of the first half that would allow him to bring things level on aggregate. Not only that, he was now in control. Keeping his opponent away from the ball, bullying him with his tackles, it looked like this was to be “Deevak’s” game to decide, if only he could find a way past the defence of “Mobizilla”.
“Mobizilla” though, would remind us that sometimes, lightning strikes twice. Scoring another late game goal in almost identical circumstances, he was able to secure victory here against a really difficult opponent.
Not only granting him his second win in the League, but catapulting him into fourth place in the league, with “Unfaizdd” and “Yvng_Savage” pushed down with a game in hand on him.
Week 6: Matchday 3
An epic tale.
David of “Bobo_Beast” taking on the Goliath “TheBeastBianchi”.
For our David, a loss would guarantee that he would not be able to escape the relegation zone. For Goliath, a victory would secure a healthy gap at first place between himself and the closest competition.
Some clashes, words cannot do justice to. By far the most insane game seen thus far in the League, this one can only be experienced rather than described.
As the dust settled, only one player would still be standing, and that player’s victory could ultimately come to define the fates of several players in the league.
That player proved to be “Bobo_Beast” with a 5-2 aggregate win, securing his first League win and ensuring the top half of the table still remained anybody’s to take.
With our final top four still not settled, and only a few weeks of play remaining before the Playoffs kick off, you cannot afford to miss even a single moment of the upcoming action, as we get closer to the end of the journey in the Umzansi Esports League Season 3.