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The Legends Stage of this year's CS:GO IEM Rio is underway

Esports: VALORANT VCT Champions

The matches are coming thick and fast in the VCT Champions - the pinnacle of the VALORANT season - and on Tuesday the playoff stage continues with the lower bracket quarter-finals.

DRX and Fnatic lock horns earlier in the day before the evening contest between XSET and FunPlus Phoenix.

The winners of the two ties will then clash in the lower bracket semi-finals for a place in the lower bracket final, in which they will face the loser of the upper bracket final, taking place on Friday between LOUD and OpTic Gaming.

XSET and FunPlus Phoenix have already met in this end-of-season competition in the group stage but there is more at stake this time around and their knockout encounter could go either way.

The overall winners of the VALORANT VCT Champions will take home $300,000 between them and will become only the second ever champions of the event after Acend won the inaugural tournament back in 2021.

WhatXSET vs. FunPlus Phoenix
WhereIstanbul, Turkey
When13:00, Tuesday September 13th 2022
How to watch

VALORANT Champions Tour Twitch / Youtube channels

OddsXSET +137, FunPlus Phoenix -188

Consistent FunPlus Phoenix worth a bet

As the odds suggest, this is expected to be a close contest in the tournament's lower bracket.

FunPlus Phoenix have the edge in the match markets and, when looking at the bigger picture, that is understandable.

The team has had to contend with visa issues and roster problems throughout the season but in their most recent major tournament - the Stage Two Masters Copenhagen - they still managed to shake off those concerns and win the event.

FunPlus Phoenix beat Paper Rex 3-2 in the Grand Final back in July, having put together a blitzing lower-bracket run beforehand to see off Guild Esports, DRX, Fnatic and OpTic Gaming.

They finished with a fairly solid 2-1 record in the group stage of that competition as well and are one of the most consistent teams in the world of VALORANT.

As for XSET, they lost both of their matches in Copenhagen against OpTic Gaming and Leviatan and could claim only 250 circuit points at the event.

Some will be quick to point out XSET have stabilised since then and responded with wins in both of their group games at the VCT Champions, including a 2-1 success over FunPlus Phoenix.

But that was a close meeting with FunPlus excelling on the second map with a 13-4 win on Fracture and on another day the overall match could have swung their way.

There is of course more on the line in this game with the losing team heading home and while FunPlus Phoenix go into the game fresh from a polished 2-0 win over Leviatan, who had topped Group A earlier in the tournament, XSET have to pick themselves up quickly after a 2-1 loss to OpTic Gaming.

It is not easy to recover after dropping down from the upper bracket and that could work against XSET, who are worth opposing in the match result markets.

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XSET and FunPlus could serve up memorable match

Although FunPlus Phoenix look like a worthy bet to win this match at -188, there is not a lot between these teams and another good punting angle could be to back over 2.5 maps at +100.

Three maps featured in their earlier meeting in the group stage with the sides clashing on Pearl, Fracture and Breeze.

And when FunPlus Phoenix went on their remarkable run in the Stage Two Masters Copenhagen, they conceded maps in five of their six knockout contests, so they are unlikely to completely blow away XSET.

FunPlus could be fast starters

For those favouring FunPlus Phoenix in this match, another decent bet could be to back them at -163 to win the first map.

They have done so in three of their five matches at the VALORANT VCT Champions and started especially strongly against Leviatan last time out, taking the first map 13-6 on Icebox.

It could take time for XSET to find their feet in this contest given they need to overcome the frustrations of defeat top OpTic Gaming, against whom they also lost the first map, and it would be no surprise to see Phoenix establish a 1-0 advantage as they bid to make the lower-bracket semi-finals.

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