This past Saturday fifteen of Europe’s best PES 2017 players descended on Barcelona to play in the PES League Road to Cardiff EU Season 1 Regional Final, live from FC Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou Stadium. On offer were 4 places at the PES League World Finals which take place alongside the UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff, as well as a share of $48,000 including a $20,000 top prize. We were present in Barcelona to see the action unfold and below is our full report.
Following a group draw conducted the previous night in the FC Barcelona press room, the action kicked off with Group A and Group B entering the tournament to battle it out with Groups C and D beginning their campaigns once they had concluded.
Due to Enigmaa03 (Turkey) being unable to travel to Barcelona due to visa issues, Group A featured 3 players battling for the two places in the knockout round. Zidane_GoooL (Germany) asserted his dominance in the group from the off, beating Aloosh20 (Nordic) 5-2 in the opener and then compatriot Mike_L_CL (Germany) 5-4 in a breathtaking second match live on the stream. This meant that in the final game a draw would be enough for Mike_L_CL to take second place in the group by virtue of goal difference. The German succeeded in doing this but it was in no way plain sailing as Aloosh20 lead for a large proportion of the match and can be considered very unlucky to exit the competition.
Group B was an Italian affair with both Ju20no and hamsun00 being drawn in the same group together. Both got off to bad starts however suffering defeats to the_sky_s_limit_ (Rest of Europe) 6-1 and daretosidi (UK & Ireland) 3-2 respectively. the_sky_s_limit_ (Rest of Europe) built on this good start recording another win by a four goal margin through beating daretosidi 4-0, meanwhile hamsun00 won the battle of the Italians with a 5-2 win over Ju20no. The final round of Group B matches saw the_sky_s_limit_ complete the clean sweep, taking first place in the group with a 1-0 win over hamsun00. This, combined with a 2-1 win for daretosidi (UK & Ireland) meant that both Italians were out in the group stages as Sidi took second place.
The Spanish contingent succeeded where the Italians failed securing their places in the Quarter Finals by qualifying from a bizarre Group C. They began their campaign live on the stream securing a 1-1 draw against eachother, a result which was replicated in the other opening Group C game between Kiliazuslikascri (Rest of Europe) and KIngOfPro1988 (Greece). Things were looking bleak for the Spaniards following the second round of matches as Ruben-94_ (Spain) lost 2-1 to KIngOfPro1988 and josesg93 (Spain) lost to Kiliazuslokascri 3-2 however a turnaround in the third round of games courtesy of a 3-1 win for Ruben-94_ and a 1-0 win for josesg93 thanks to a late goal saw them qualify by virtue of goal difference (Ruben-94_) and goals scored (josesg93).
Group D also needed to be settled on Goal difference as three players all racked up six points. The action opened with E_C_Oneill (Netherlands) edging out dNationPT (Portugal) 3-2 and TheWezzatron (UK & Ireland) securing a well earned 2-0 victory against Lutti-1 (Austria and Switzerland). Lutti-1 was able to recover in his next match to beat dNationPT 2-1 whilst TheWezzatron was comprehensively beaten 4-0 by E_C_Oneill. The heavy defeat was crucial as despite recording a 4-3 victory against dNationPT, TheWezzatron was eliminated on goal difference due to Lutti-1 beating E_C_Oneill.
Safe in the knowledge that they’d already secured a minimum of $2,000 for making the Quarter Finals the players embarked on the knockout stages knowing they were just one 2-legged match away from qualifying for Cardiff.
Ruben-94_ (Spain) was the first to qualify making light work of daretosidi (UK and Ireland) scoring 7 goals over the two legs with no reply from the Englishman. Next through was E_C_Oneill (Netherlands) on the stream, turning around a 1-0 first leg deficit against Mike_L_CL (Germany) winning the second leg 3-0, securing a 3-1 aggregate victory. josesg93 (Spain) followed securing a 4-2 win in the first leg against the_sky_s_the_limit (Rest of Europe) before seeing out the tie with a measured performance to gain a 1-1 draw in the second leg.
The last Semi Finalist was Lutti-1 (Austria & Switzerland) who came through a rollercoaster tie against Zidane_Goool (Germany). The first match ended with the German in front 5-4 and he looked comfortable in the second which remained 1-1 as the clock ran down. Lutti-1 was able to find another gear late on, typing up the aggregate score and then taking the lead in quick succession towards the end of the match to book his place in Cardiff.
With the final four players now knowing that they’d booked their place in Cardiff all that was left to determine was the small matter of who would scoop the $20,000 first place prize. This would be decided live on the PES League stream from the Camp Nou.
The first semi final pitted josegs93 (Spain) against Lutti-1 (Austria & Switzerland) as Lutti-1 aimed to reach a third major International PES final. This outcome looked likely early on as the Austrian raced into a 2-0 lead but was pegged back before the end of the match to leave the tie with a tantalizing 2-2 scoreline at the end of the first leg. Just as Lutti-1 got the early advantage in the first leg, josesgs93 took it in the second, scoring early on to take the lead in the tie. Unlike the Austrian however he was able to see it through, seeing out the match comfortably to secure a 4-1 win in the second leg and a 6-3 win on aggregate.
Next up was E_C_Oneill (Netherlands) against Ruben-94_ (Spain) who was looking to secure an all Spanish final on home soil. This was looking unlikely at the end of the first leg as E_C_Oneill put in a breathtaking performance to race into a 6-1 lead going into the second leg. The Spaniard however wasn’t in any mood to relinquish his ambitions to make the final, scoring two quick-fire goals at the start of the second leg. In the end, the deficit proved too much to overcome as Ruben-94_ could only find one further goal and eventually conceded to E_C_Oneill on the counter attack with the match ending 3-1 and E_C_Oneill going through to the final by virtue of a 7-3 aggregate win.
Despite the disappointment of not reaching the final still fresh in his mind, Ruben-94_ (Spain) was able to recover in an enthralling third place play off match. The Spaniard took the lead on 31 minutes only for Lutti-1 to equalize almost straight away. Ruben once again took the lead shortly before half time and this was preserved until deep into the second half when Lutti once again came from behind to level the scores. This time though it was Ruben’s turn to fashion a quick-fire response putting himself 3-2 up. He then expertly soaked up the pressure from Lutti and saw out the game securing the $6,000 third place prize leaving Lutti-1 to take the $4,000 cheque for finishing in fourth place.
After 34 matches and 147 goals, it was down to two. josesg93 and E_C_Oneill were left to battle it out in the final for the $20,000 first place prize. It was josesg93 who struck first taking a 1-0 lead before a short break was needed due to technical issues on stage. He doubled this advantage shortly after the restart before building on his lead further to finish the half 3-0 up. The second half saw a slight reverse in fortunes as E_C_Oneill took control of the match but it was not enough as he was only able to claw one goal back despite his best efforts.
This meant E_C_Oneill had to settle for the $10,000 runner-up prize as joseg93 took the $20,000 grand prize and the title of Road to Cardiff EU Season 1 Regional Champion.
Will you be next?
If this looks like something you’d like to get involved in then listen up! There’s four more places in Cardiff up for grabs in the Road to Cardiff EU Season 2 tournament as well as another $20,000 first place prize. The season starts with the Road to Cardiff EU Season ladder which kicks off on February 23 and will culminate in a Regional Final at Anfield, Liverpool in April. All you need to do to join is head to www.pesleague.com and register using your PSN account then follow the rules on the website.
The Road to Cardiff EU Season 1 Regional final took place on Saturday February 11. The full broadcast of the event can be found here. Players can register for the Road to Cardiff EU Season 2 season on www.pesleague.com.