It is less than a year since a chartered plane carrying members of the Chapecoense playing squad and staff crashed resulting in the death of 71 of 77 passengers. Only three players survived in a disaster that shocked the footballing world.
Last night they beat Vitoria in a result that ensures they will continue in Brazil's top flight next year. They are eight points clear of relegation now with three games remaining. Ponte Preta and Vitoria, who are 16th and 17th, have to play each other which means even if Chapecoense lose their remaining games they are safe.
E A COMEMORAÇÃO NÃO PODIA SER DIFERENTE!!
Chapecoense garantida no Brasileirão Série A 2018!!
VAAAAAMOS, VAMOS CHAPEEEE!! #VamosChape #Brasileirao2017 pic.twitter.com/zVvFUnrThk
— Chapecoense (@ChapecoenseReal) November 17, 2017
That tragic crash last year occurred while the side were travelling to the first leg of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana final against Atlético Nacional. The plane ran out of fuel as it approached Medellín and plunged from the sky.
However, in a heart-warming story, goalkeeper Jakson Follmann who had one of his legs amputated after the crash was pictured yesterday returning to training.
O Follmann fez hoje o seu primeiro treino com bola! 🏹⚽💚
Que momento! #VamosChape pic.twitter.com/qJlsrPB6PD
— Chapecoense (@ChapecoenseReal) November 16, 2017
De Melo returned to the squad in the aftermath of the crash, having left in 2015, and spoke of the club's difficult task this year to Sports Illustrated:
We promised to keep the team in Serie A, which is where our warriors left us.
We had a difficult year and their memory made us fight until the very end, so Chape remains in the top flight division for the fifth year in a row.
That is no small thing for a club of our financial capabilities, and a city from the countryside that endured so much.
The club was offered immunity from relegation this year but refused. They will open the gates to their ground on the 29 November to allow fans leave flowers and candles in memory of last year's event.
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