Chapecoense play first match since plane disaster

Date published: Sunday 22nd January 2017 9:25 - Matthew Briggs

Chapecoense: Decimated by tragic loss

Chapecoense drew 2-2 against Brazilian champions Palmeiras in their first match since the air disaster in November in which 19 players and 24 other club members were among those who died.

Around 20,000 fans at the club’s Conda Arena stadium in Chapeco attended the friendly fixture to pay tribute to the 71 people killed when the plane carrying the team to play in the Copa Sudamerica final in Colombia crashed into a mountain near the city of Medellin.

Only six of the 77 people who had travelled for the final against Atletico Nacional survived, including three Chapecoense players – goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, defender Neto and winger Alan Ruschel.

All three players wept as they received the Copa Sudamericana trophy on behalf of the club at the Conda Arena.

Copa Sudamericana is South America’s second-most prestigious tournament and Chapecoense were declared champions shortly after the crash.

The club has rebuilt its squad with most of its 22 new players arriving on loan from other clubs. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Chape duo Douglas Grolli and William Amaral cancelled out Raphael Veiga’s opener for Palmeiras and Vitor Carvalho equalised with 12 minutes to go to deny Chapecoense victory.

Before kick-off Chapecoense said on their official Twitter account: “STARTED!! Ball rolling in the Conda Arena! Chapecoense v Palmeiras. A new Chape: more united, confident and much stronger!”

After the game the club added: “We appreciate the affection of all who supported Chape! Thank you very much! #VamosChape.”

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