The ninth matchday of eFootball.Pro IQONIQ took place on Saturday, May 8th, with the results revealing the official qualifiers for the Knockout Stage. Juventus ended the Regular Season in 1st place, climbing their way to the top of the league table for the first time in the 2020-21 competition. AS Monaco experienced their first matchday taking zero points to the league table following an incredible performance by FC Bayern München, although the Monegasque club remains qualified for advancement. In a complex 26 point tie between Arsenal FC, FC Schalke 04, and FC Bayern München, the unexpected situation arose where Celtic FC’s victory ended up sending the determining the fate of the German squads, sending FC Schalke 04 on to the Knockout Stage and ending FC Bayern München’s run this season.
Juventus and Manchester United FC kicked off the final matchday of the Regular Season with the Featured Match, and both teams still in the running for the Knockout Stage. ETTORITO97 started Juventus off on the right foot in minute 10’, which ended up being the only goal of the game and all the Italian squad needed to guarantee their path to the playoffs. Game 2 featured a closely fought game that began with a significant lead for Juventus after three goals in a row, however Ostrybuch put the English club on the scoreboard with back-to-back successful shots in an attempt to keep Manchester United FC in the competition. The score remained at 3-2 until the final minute, granting Juventus all six points and officially taking Manchester United FC out of the running for the Knockout Stage.
Galatasaray SK and FC Barcelona faced off in the second fixture, with the Turkish club out of the running but hoping to defend Mucahit21’s first place position on the defense table, and the Blaugrana club aiming to achieve advancement. Kruji’s shot in minute 15’ kept Galatasaray SK from experiencing a shutout loss, however the Blaugrana club still came out ahead as a result of captain THE PALMA’s first half hat trick that created the 1-3 result. The second game began with a scoreless start, with the first goal scored once again by Barça captain THE PALMA in minute 63’. His shot turned out to be all FC Barcelona needed not only to win the second game and earn six points, but to secure their spot in the Knockout Stage as well.
As the ninth matchday continued, AS Roma and FC Schalke 04 entered the matchup with the Italian team hoping to end the Regular Season at the top of the league table, and the German club aiming to officialize their qualification. Continuing with the momentum of his seven goal total from the previous matchday, KEPA scored two late game goals that achieved the 2-0 win for AS Roma in Game 1. An early own goal from S-Venom gave FC Schalke 04 the lead for almost the entire game, all the way until minute 90+1’ when Roma captain RoksaCzv22 stunned the German club by executing an expert free kick to equalize the score just before the clock ran out on the competition, granting the Italian club four points by the end of the match.
Reigning league champions AS Monaco faced the eFootball.Pro Cup winners FC Bayern München in the fourth fixture of the day, with the German team needing all six points to even depend on the final results of the day for their advancement. Bayern kept their dream of qualification alive throughout the first game, with an own goal of Lotfi giving them the lead that they maintained until the final whistle, marking the first game for AS Monaco that they were unable to put a single goal on the scoreboard. In Game 2, FC Bayern München wasted no time working towards their six point objective, as captain JOSE put them on the scoreboard in minute 14’. While Usmakabyle equalized the score by minute 72’, Alex Alguacil achieved the incredible feat of bringing the German club ahead with a late game goal in minute 90’ which stunned the league, took six points from the Monegasque club for the first time in the 2020-21 season, and brought FC Bayern München into the top six rankings at the most crucial moment for their squad.
In the final matchup of the Regular Season, Arsenal FC and Celtic FC went head-to-head with FC Schalke 04, FC Bayern München, and the Gunners themselves all counting on the results. By minute 17’ barboza had brought the English squad ahead. Although PataNegra7 equalized the result at 1-1 granting each club one point, it was all Arsenal FC needed to officially qualify for the Knockout Stage. Scottish club captain Jorcha was the sole goal scorer of the second game, with his shot in minute 62’. The three point gain brought Celtic FC out of the last place position, as well as granted FC Schalke 04 advancement into the Knockout Stage and ended FC Bayern München’s dream of competing in the playoffs.
The MVP of Matchday 8 and the best goal award of the April 24th competition were presented at the beginning of the day. Celtic FC's Gagliardo28 won the prize for the best goal, and KEPA of AS Roma was named MVP. The awards of Matchday 9 will be announced at a later date. In order to decide the MVP, KONAMI chooses one player out of the five based on CO-OP points determined by the video game. Both MVP and Best Goal are individual prizes that award 10,000€ each to the winner.
The brackets for the Knockout Stage have officially been finalized and announced: Juventus and AS Roma will automatically advance to the Semifinals. FC Barcelona and FC Schalke 04 will face off in the Quarterfinals for the chance to compete against Juventus, and AS Monaco and Arsenal FC will play each other in the Quarterfinals to earn the opportunity of facing AS Roma in the Semifinals. The two clubs that emerge victorious from the Semifinals will go head-to-head in the Final, where the winner will earn the title of 2020-21 eFootball.Pro IQONIQ champion. The Knockout Stage is scheduled to broadcast on Saturday, June 5th.
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