Chapecoense return to continental action with emotional victory

Plane crash survivors Neto and Ruschel were named in the squad but did not feature

Chapecoense’s goalkeeper Artur Moraes gets off the bus as the team arrives to the stadium for their match against Zulia FC. Photograph: Reuters

Chapecoense’s goalkeeper Artur Moraes gets off the bus as the team arrives to the stadium for their match against Zulia FC. Photograph: Reuters

 

Chapecoense beat Zulia 2-1 in the Copa Libertadores as the Brazilian club took part in an overseas fixture for the first time since the devastating plane crash which killed most of their squad.

Only six of the 77 people who were travelling to Colombia survived the tragedy in November, including three Chapecoense players — goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, defender Neto and winger Alan Ruschel.

In total 19 players and 24 other club members died as the plane crashed into a mountain near the city of Medellin.

The team had been on its way to take part in the Copa Sudamerica final — the title of the competition was subsequently awarded to them after the incident.

On an emotional night in north-east Venezuela, Neto and Ruschel were named in the squad but did not feature.

Reinaldo opened the scoring and Luiz Antonio doubled the lead with 21 minutes remaining at Estadio Jose Encarnacion Pachencho Romero.

Juan Arango pulled a goal back nine minutes later but Chapecoense claimed an historic victory, just over three months since the disaster.

Chapecoense drew 2-2 against Brazilian champions Palmeiras in their first match since the air disaster in January.

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