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Photo by Stephanie Lindgren via ESL Gaming

History in the making: 9z are just one step away from reaching Legends Stage at IEM Rio Major

The South American mix showed their mental strength against Evil Geniuses today.

9z made history when they qualified for the PGL Antwerp Major earlier this year and became the first CS:GO team with Argentinian, Uruguayan, and Chilean players to qualify for a Valve-sponsored tournament. 9z have only kept improving and can write another glorious chapter for South American Counter-Strike at the IEM Rio Major if they win one more game and qualify for the Legends Stage.

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The team of Uruguayan duo Franco “dgt” Garcia and Maximiliano “max” Gonzalez, Chilean rifler David “dav1d” Maldonado, Brazilian AWPer Lucas “nqz” Soares, and Argentinian youngster Nicolás “buda” Kramer are currently 2-1 in the IEM Rio Major Challengers Stage following a hard-fought 19-17 victory against Evil Geniuses today. They were behind 15-13 and not only pushed the Nuke game to overtime but also took down their North American rivals thanks to a 3-0 run as the CTs in OT.

Max had a huge impact on the series because of his calling and reads, and he also was clearly the MVP of the game. The Uruguayan in-game leader finished the Nuke game with 35 kills and just 19 deaths, which netted him a 1.61 rating. You can see how crispy his aim was in this quad kill with the AK-47 in round 21:

To qualify for the Legends Stage, though, 9z will have to win a best-of-three series in the IEM Rio Major Challengers Stage. They’ll have two opportunities to do so since they’re currently in the 2-1 pool of the Swiss system.

EG, on the other hand, find themselves with their backs against the wall and will have to win two best-of-three series to remain alive in the tournament and reach the Legends Stage of the IEM Rio Major.

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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.