West Ham Esports’ Alfie ‘AC Calder’ RedLac came agonisingly close to securing a top-two finish amongst England’s Xbox FIFA 21 players on Friday evening – narrowly missing out on a place in the national side, the eLions.
In only his second professional season, the 18-year-old entered his first ever major tournament, the eLions’ ‘The Eliminator’, on Friday, having won all five of his qualification games earlier this year.
Paired against Team FUTWIZ’s Lyricz – a former eClub World Cup quarter-finalist – in his first two-legged tie, RedLac went 2-0 down in the very early stages, but clawed one goal back and gradually began to exert his quality on the tie.
That then came to the fore in the second leg when the West Ham player turned on the style, racing into a 3-0 lead – 4-2 on aggregate – before Lyricz grabbed a late consolation.
“At the start of the game I was really nervous. It was a big game for me – I’ve not got any event experience – and when I was having a drink, I was shaking all over,” RedLac reflected.
“I grew into the game and my confidence grew, and you could see it in my gameplay. I was confident I could win.”
RedLac was therefore left with just one game left to win in order to become an official England FIFA 21 player, and have the chance to represent his country at the eNations Cup 2021.
The 18-year-old came up against tournament outsider and dark horse Bigmac, for whom it was also a first-ever major competition – and some enthralling FIFA ensued.
Once again going 2-0 down early on in the first leg, RedLac showed brilliant composure to pull it back to 2-2 early, before both players traded goals to finish the leg at 3-3.
In the second leg, RedLac moved ahead and seemed to have control of the tie but – in tough-to-take circumstances, Bigmac snatched two goals either side of half-time to triumph 5-4 on aggregate overall.
The West Ham man was understandably disappointed but, with a busy calendar of FIFA 21 Global Series and ePremier League events ahead of him, has since resolved to rally once again.
On Thursday afternoon, fellow Hammers Esports star and PlayStation4 player Curtis ‘Papssity’ Poole was also unfortunate to find himself on the end of a second-leg comeback against Manchester City’s Shellzz, ending his eLions hopes in his first tie.
The Hammers’ player was the dominant force in the first leg and clinched a last-minute victory with an injury-time strike to win 2-1.
But in the second leg, despite increasing that advantage to 4-2 on aggregate, Papssity could not hold off an impressive fightback from former world champion Shellzz, who eventually came back to win 6-4 overall.
Papssity will now turn his attentions to this weekend’s qualifiers for this season’s eChampions League, a PS4-only competition.
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