The Chapecoense returns to the elite of Brazilian soccer, after a year in the Second Division. Four years after the area tragedy that cost the life of 71 of the 77 occupants of the plane, including 19 footballers, the then president of the institution, the coach and almost the entire coaching staff, and after the death, on December 31, due to the COVID-19 of the current president of the entity, Paulo Ricardo Magro, the Brazilian club sees a smile again.
Chapecoense beat state rival Figueirense 2-1 to secure a place among the top four of Brasileirao’s Serie B, with four games remaining, thanks to goals from Paulinho Moccelin y Derlan.
Worldwide consternation at the 2016 tragedy
The accident that decimated Chapecoense occurred on November 28, 2016 when the plane in which the team was traveling to Medellín to play the final of the Copa Sudamericana ran out of fuel and crashed in La Unión (Antioquia), 17 kilometers from get to the airport of the Colombian city.
In the tragedy, 71 of the 77 people who were in the aircraft of the Bolivian airline Lamia died, including 19 footballers, the president of the institution, the coach and almost the entire coaching staff., in addition to a score of journalists who accompanied the club in its first final in an international tournament. Of the 22 players called up, only three survived: Jakson Follmann (who had his right leg amputated), Alan Ruschel and Neto.
After the event, Chapecoense was declared champion of the 2016 South American Cup and debuted in the Copa Libertadores de América (maximum continental tournament) in 2018.
The team, which until 2006 played in the fourth division of Brazil, spent six years in the first division of the League, before its first relegation, in December of last year.
The tragedy of plane that transferred the Chapecoense expedition to Colombia for the final of the Copa Sudamericana caught the attention of the global soccer community, generating sales of jerseys and team merchandise around the world. Teams like Barcelona organized charity matches and fundraising events to help the club. Although its budget is a fraction of that of the clubs in the big cities of Brazil, the team was quickly rebuilt, remaining competitive in the highest category of Brasileirao until it was relegated in December 2019. The victory against Figueirense returns La Chapecoense to the elite of Brazilian soccer and the celebrations have been unleashed in the small southern town.
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