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Photo by Stephanie Lindgren via ESL Gaming

9z crush IEM Rio Major fans after pushing crowd favorites Imperial into danger zone

FalleN was on the receiving end this time.

Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo was once known as the Librarian due to SK Gaming’s capability to win events against an unfavorable crowd. Today, however, he felt the same feeling his adversaries once did after 9z send FalleN’s Imperial to the brink of elimination at IEM Rio Major.

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The crowd was chanting frenetically at the Riocentro venue and the chants were slowly fading away due to the South American mix of 9z repetitively shutting Imperial down in the second round of IEM Rio Major Challengers Stage.

The side led by Maximiliano “max” Gonzalez dominated Imperial from the get-go on Mirage and imposed the rhythm of the series thanks to a dominant performance on the CT side, in which they capitalized on Imperial’s mistakes and finished the first half with a 13-2 advantage.

The Brazilian fans got loud again after FalleN got an ace with Dual Berettas on the B bombsite, his first ever at a Major. Imperial got momentum from there and roll over 9z in multiple consecutive rounds.

The gap on the scoreboard proved to be too much of an issue for the Brazilian side to overcome though and 9z ran away with a 16–11 victory on Mirage. In the end, the Brazilian crowd applauded Imperial, and part of the fans chanted that they still believe in Imperial.

This win over Imperial gives 9z some room to breathe in the competition as they’ll play their last best-of-one series tomorrow and can move to advancement territory in case they win.

As for Imperial, they’re 0–2 down at IEM Rio Major. From now on, though, it’s all do-or-die best-of-three matches for FalleN and crew at the Challengers Stage.

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Image of Leonardo Biazzi
Leonardo Biazzi
Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.