Astralis takes hit in light Week 8 at European ESL Pro League

Astralis shot-caller Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and his team had a shot at creating some space in the European ESL Pro League standings this week but were stymied by a mid-table Ninjas in Pyjamas squad. Provided by Patrick Strack / ESL

A short-and-simple Week 8 of the European ESL Pro League Season 5 wrapped up Thursday as several teams shifted in the European standings with just two weeks left until the playoffs start in June.

FaZe Clan and mousesports kicked off the Week 8 action on Tuesday. Mousesports started well enough in the first half on Overpass and won the first six rounds for an early lead. A late spark saw FaZe Clan trim the first half deficit to 9-6, though, after successfully winning a handful of pivotal rounds to close out the half. FaZe took that momentum into the second half by winning 10 of the 11 rounds to take the map 16-10.

Game 2 shifted over to Inferno where the two teams ended us tussling all the way into overtime. FaZe built on to its second-half surge in Game 1 to an early 5-1 lead. The lead quickly dissipated, though, because of mousesports' hold on mid and the B-bombsite, resulting in FaZe taking a narrow 8-7 lead into the half. mousesports won the first four rounds of the tightly contested second half that went the distance. mousesports controlled the overtime, keeping the lead within two points to secure the series split with a 19-17 win.

Ninjas in Pyjamas, a bottom-half team in EU EPL, was up next with a tight series on Tuesday against No. 1 Astralis. NiP came out with a quick 2-0 lead, and its defense made it hard for Astralis to string together wins, resulting in a 7-2 early lead for NiP that gave way to a 9-6 halftime advantage. Astralis crushed NiP's offense in the second half with wins in 10 of the 13 rounds to shut down the Swedes in a 16-12 win on Inferno.

Game 2 saw NiP take a quick 6-0 lead coming out the gate, but the Danes quickly came back to stagger NiP with a 8-7 lead. While Astralis picked up a couple of rounds in the second half, NiP put its foot down for a commanding performance in the later rounds of the half to split the series with a 16-12 win.

Natus Vincere and G2 Esports got the matches started on Wednesday in yet another draw. Na'Vi took the first half by storm on Nuke, winning the pistol round and pushing on to a 9-2 lead from there. G2 did its part to keep things a bit even with four straight wins to close the half, making it 9-6 in favor of Na'Vi. G2 rolled that momentum into the second half for a crushing performance on the defense to hold off Na'Vi for a 16-10 win after winning 10 out of the 11 second-half rounds.

G2 punished the offense of Na'Vi to the tune of a 4-1 lead in the first half of Overpass in Game 2. Na'Vi weren't about to let a second half Game 1 repeat, though, as the CIS-based team came back to take the lead from G2 to end the half up 8-7. Na'Vi won the first four rounds on the defense before the French squad came back to tie things at 12 apiece. Na'Vi had the upper hand late in the second half to even the series 16-13, thanks to Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev for leading the team in kills and ADR.

North closed the week out with a 2-0 win over Team Kinguin on Thursday to remain in the top-five of the European standings. Kinguin made some noise in the first half of Cobblestone by winning the first three rounds of the game, but North quickly figured out the Kinguin defense and pounced for a 10-5 halftime lead. While Kinguin won six rounds in the half to try and battle back, North maintained control over the half with strong defensive play to take the map 16-11.

The Polish-based Kinguin looked to even things in Game 2, but North had other plans. Kinguin once again got out to a 3-0 lead on the offense, and North stood its ground on Inferno to hold off for another 10-5 lead at the half. Kinguin continued to struggle in the second half and failed to win a single round in a 16-5 victory for North.

Week 8 is now in the books with Astralis, North and Natus Vincere in a three-way tie for the top spot. Mousesports, just one win behind those teams, rounds out the top four, while FaZe Clan and G2 are tied for that fifth spot. Virtus.pro continued its fall in the standings and slid into the 12th with little hope at cracking into the playoffs this time around. Week 9 action will resume April 25 at 1 p.m. ET on Twitch.