Midfielder Alexander Zinchenko of London’s Arsenal had to temporarily switch professions and become a professional esports player for a few hours. The Ukrainian footballer had to replace a player in his own team right in the middle of a BO3 match against BLEED Esports.
As a result, Sasha and his young team didn’t win the series, but they secured a victory on one of the maps and made it clear how weak and vulnerable big organizations can be. It’s rumored that immediately after the match, there was a very serious conversation and analysis among the players and staff of BLEED because they were nearly defeated by a relatively unknown team with a football player as a substitute.
In case you missed it, the Ukrainian defender has founded and established an entire esports organization together with former Natus Vincere coach Mikhail “kane” Blagin — Passion UA. This lineup consists of young promising players who often only played in Tier 3 online tournaments.
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HOW WAS THE GAME?
The match between Passion UA and BLEED Esports took an unfavorable turn for the Ukrainian players as they lost the opponent’s map (Inferno) with a score of 8-13.
Next came the pick of Zinchenko’s team, where they chose Ancient. However, the team encountered problems even on their “home” map. One of the players, specifically Eduard “zeRRoFIX” Petrovsky, was unable to finish the map due to unknown reasons. That’s when everything started to go downhill…
Standin football player
The co-founder of the organization was immediately forced to substitute a player in the team and officially become the fifth player of Passion UA’s roster. Counter-Strike has never been his main pursuit, but the footballer turned out to be not the worst example in the game.
As expected, BLEED won the first half of Ancient and converted their momentum into winning the second pistol round, creating a convincing 11-3 advantage. This put Passion UA in an incredibly difficult position. What happened next? We suspect it was a miracle and a motivational speech from Alexander Zinchenko, who often boosts the morale of the “Gunners” on the football field.
In an absolutely incredible fashion, Passion UA won nine rounds in a row and took the map to overtime, where they clinched the additional rounds with a flawless 4-0 scoreline, ultimately winning the map 16-12.
On this map, Zinchenko displayed a HLTV rating of 0.95 (average is 1.00), which signifies one thing — he truly helped his team achieve such a result. And considering the fact that Alexander is simply a footballer, he played exceptionally well. With this rating, the midfielder outperformed one of his teammates and four players from BLEED — quite impressive!
Nice try, Zinchenko!
Passion UA rightfully celebrated their victory on their pick, but the series wasn’t over yet. Both teams had to play a decider to determine the stronger team, and that map turned out to be Anubis.
The Ukrainian team managed to secure only six rounds while playing on the T-side, which is not a great indicator considering the attacking side has a significant advantage. The team’s entry fragger could only secure four kills in the first twelve rounds of the half, indicating some problems.
Passion UA fought as hard as they could on the defensive side. Unfortunately, they fell just short of winning the map and the series with a score of 11-13. The Arsenal player finished the game with a rating of 0.78. Despite falling below the average performance, he wasn’t the worst player on the server that day!
Overall, considering the circumstances, Passion UA put up a fantastic game and gained valuable insights to improve. The team, filled with young and inexperienced players, nearly defeated BLEED, an organization that pays hefty salaries to its players and boasts a much stronger infrastructure than yesterday’s opponent.
Alexander Zinchenko was certainly not a burden, and the community’s attention was mostly focused on BLEED, criticizing their performance and recent failures.
Immediately after the match, BLEED’s head coach, Aleksandar “kassad” Trifunovic, expressed his dissatisfaction with the team’s performance and promised that there would be some changes within the team. However, this move by the coach was met with resistance as he chose to publicly voice his opinions instead of discussing them internally. Fans could only sympathize with the players caught up in all of this. Overall, this victory over Passion UA brought more harm than benefit to BLEED, and such situations do occur.
As for Alexander, an interesting picture is emerging, with the professional footballer already having five official matches listed on his HLTV profile. This match against BLEED has become the highlight of his esports career.