RIIJK reported a decent 28-2 record in the Weekend League and notched a slot in the eRepre offline finals. The only bumps on his ride came in the European qualifier to the $200,000 guaranteed FUT Champions Cup Bucharest, which left RIIJK eliminated after four matches.
RIIJK talked to us not only about the unsuccessful campaign but also about other things, including the upcoming Slavia v Sparta derby.
First, I needed to get used to the gameplay in the friendlies, and that showed in the first loss. I think it was the easiest opponent, but I wasn't accustomed to the slow tempo, or maybe I just wasn't warmed up yet. I should've won that one.
It was anyone's game for quite a long period, but I managed to score a few goals in the second half, and he quit before the end. It wasn't a lopsided game, but the result was great.
The result against NBD hurts the most. It was a close game with a minimum of chances, and I lost in the penalty shootout. Had I won, I believe the rest of the qualifier would have been completely different.
The last one against Dani...I think the previous match left a mark on me. I knew I couldn't afford to lose and that stuck with me. I was 4-2 up but failed to bring it home. I should've tighten up the defense, but I continued to play with the same formation. Dani equalized and then finished it off in the extra time.
The absolute elite (Tekkz etc.), they're definitely on a different level. But we can be competitive against the rest. This qualifier featured opponents — especially the third and fourth — on my level. It comes down to little details; for instance, NBD won two shootouts and advanced from the Swiss.
Many pieces have to click when you play against someone from the top 100. The differences are tiny. You need luck and you need to be able to close the games out in the penalty shootouts and extra time. Neither of us managed to do that this time.
It had all worked out for me in one of the previous qualifiers when I'd advanced from Swiss, but I ran out of luck in the bracket, a few rounds from advancing. We need to treat it as a valuable lesson, learn from it, and come back stronger.
I didn't have any connection issues myself, but when such problems occurred elsewhere, we had to wait until those games finished.
But I had similar issues in the latest Weekend League, so I postponed the majority of my matches to Monday.
It's really incomparable. It's completely different. You face weaker opponents in maybe 28 of 30 matches in the Weekend League. You need to beat them and then it all comes down to the remaining two or three matches against the top 100 players.
On the contrary, the qualifiers feature players with a similar skill — or even better — in all matches. At least that was the case in the Phase II that we played last weekend.
I expect a very cautious match, maybe with a lot of errors. Both teams have struggled since the break so far. I'm a little afraid that it won't be too exciting to watch, but I believe that we [Slavia] will win one-nil after a set-piece. Who'll score the winner? Kúdela...or rather Tijani, that would be spicy.