RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s Chapecoense football club, which was all but wiped out in an air crash last November, won its first silverware since the tragedy by taking the state championship yesterday.
Some 20,000 supporters packed the home stadium in Chapeco to watch their team win the Santa Catarina state title for the second year in a row — except this time with a new lineup.
The team lost 1-0 to rivals Avai but won the tournament on overall points.
“It’s something unseen in the world of football. We’ve managed to rebuild a team and win the title a few months later,” trainer Vagner Mancini said after yesterday’s game.
Nineteen Chapecoense players and 24 club officials died on November 28 when the team’s plane crashed into a mountainside in Colombia.
Unsung Chapecoense had been on their way to face Atletico Nacional in Medellin for the biggest match in their history: the final of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second-biggest club tournament.
After the tragedy, Atletico ceded the title to Chapecoense in tribute.