Melbourne City FC’s Esports duo Marcus Gomes and Josh Wood missed out on securing the inaugural E-League trophy on Thursday evening, following a string of upsets in the season's finale in Sydney.
Sydney FC's Samer Elbadar was crowned the inaugural E-League Champion after saving a gold-standard performance to secure a Grand Final triumph over Wood.
Wood and Elbadar were considered outsiders to reach the decider, but their respective club team-mates Gomes and Mark Brijeski were both shocked in big boilovers befitting the unpredictable nature of the competition.
Josh beat Christian Bartolilo (@Fweshest) 3-1 in the PS4 Quarter Final and then defeated Peter Saisanas (@saisanasp) in the PS4 Semi Final 4-3 in extra time. Josh advanced to the E-League 2018 Grand Final by defeating Brijeski 2-1 in extra time during the PS4 Console Final.
In the first leg of the E-League 2018 Grand Final on the PS4 console, Elbadar took a two goal lead in the first half. Josh scored in the 75th minute to peg a goal back but then conceded a penalty in the 85th minute. Elbadar was unable to convert from the spot and the score remained 2-1 in favour of Elbadar heading into the second.
The second leg saw Elbadar with the advantage going onto his preferred Xbox console. He then took the lead in the 20th minute and doubled his lead just before the half hour mark. The second half saw Elbadar extend his lead in the 48th and 58th minutes to give him an unassailable 6-1 lead .
Both Elbadar (Xbox) and Josh (PS4) will receive places at the FIFA 18 Global Series Play-Off Event, which is a qualification event for the FIFA eWorld Cup.
E-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
Josh 'Joshingwood' Wood 1-6 Samer 'Samer96_' Elbadar
- Samer Elbadar was simply too good for Josh Wood over the two legs incorporating both PS4 and Xbox consoles, securing Grand Final success in the manner deserving of an E-League Champion.
PS4: Josh 'Joshingwood' Wood 1-2 Samer 'Samer96_' Elbadar
In the initial PS4 leg, Elbadar missed a late penalty but still secured a valuable 2-1 advantage.
The Sydney FC representative took the lead on his unpreferred console, slicing through the heart of defence and finding the back of the net with a somewhat fortunate finish.
There was nothing uncertain about his second, though, as a pass into Neymar's feet increased the margin.
Wood gambled on a more attacking shape and reaped the rewards when he halved the deficit with just under 15 minutes to play.
And he kept the contest alive through a superb double save from a late penalty leading into the Xbox leg.
Xbox: Samer 'Samer96_' Elbadar 4-0 Josh 'Joshingwood' Wood
Back at home on Xbox, Elbadar finished the job in fitting fashion, storming to a celebratory 4-0 win.
The trophy swung irretrievably away from Wood in a destructive first 30 minutes that saw him concede twice.
It was party time from there, Elbadar adding a further two after the interval in a virtual victory lap.
CONSOLE GRAND FINALS
- In reaching the overall Grand Final, Elbadar and Wood both upset the favourites of their respective consoles as Marcus Gomes and Mark Brijeski missed out.
Xbox: Samer 'Samer96_' Elbadar 2-1 Marcus 'SoccerStar00777' Gomes
Samer Elbadar's season of shocks continued when he struck right at the death to complete a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Marcus Gomes.
After a chess match of a first half finished scoreless, the first move was made when Gomes clinically finished across the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.
But his lead soon disappeared and, in the very final seconds of stoppage time, Elbadar produced a brilliant Berba spin and low driven finish to stun the competition's pre-season favourite.
PS4: Mark 'xMarkoHD' Brijeski 1-2 Josh 'Joshingwood' Wood
On PS4, Josh Wood pulled off the seemingly impossible as he derailed Mark Brijeski's unbeaten campaign in a last-gasp 2-1 extra-time victory.
Brijeski had looked like he was on his way to the decider when he broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
But, after an incredible goal-line block from Paolo Maldini somehow denied Wood a certain equaliser after half-time, the City competitor remained on the front foot to restore parity through a composed Cristiano Ronaldo finish.
The tension continued to rise with Wood surviving a late scare to reach extra-time before he shattered all expectations two minutes shy of shootout, finding space in the penalty area and driving the decisive strike through the goalkeeper.