Emotional scenes as Chapecoense plane crash survivors lift Copa Sudamericana trophy

Chapecoense played Palmeiras in a charity game over the weekend

BY Simon Maguire 11:30 Sunday 22 January 2017, 11:30 22 Jan 2017

Image: Andre Penner AP/Press Association Images

The three Chapecoense players who survived last November's fatal plane crash in Colombia lifted the Copa Sudamericana trophy over the weekend during a friendly with Palmeiras.

The small Brazilian team were, as recently as 2009, playing in the fourth division (Serie D) of the Brazilian football league. Back-to-back promotions in 2012 and 2013 saw them rise through Serie C and Serie B to reach Brazil's top flight.

Their appearance in one of the continent's showpiece tournaments was meant to be the pinnacle for the club, only for the story to a tragic turn. 71 people lost their lives as the squad travelled to Colombia to take on Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. 

In the aftermath of the crash, Atletico Nacional agreed that Chapecoense be crowned champions in a gesture of solidarity with the Brazilian team.

At the weekend, the survivors lifted the trophy in front of a huge crowd just before kick-off in a charity game that finished 2-2.

Speaking to the Associated Press, former Chapecoense player Janca said: "It is just unbelievable that they managed to rebuild the entire team, and the club board in such a short time.

"It will take some time until people trust the new players, but there will surely be support for that," he added.

The ground broke out in an emotional cheer in the 71st minute in a tribute to the 71 people who lost their lives in the tragic crash last year. 

Chapecoense were founded in 1973 in the city of Chapeco, in the state of Santa Caterina, southern Brazil which is home to about 200,000 people. 

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