Chapecoense: Brazilian team play their first game since plane crash
Chapecoense have played their first game since most of their team were killed in a plane crash on 29 November.
Seventy-one people, including 19 players and staff, were killed as the Brazilian team travelled to Colombia for the final of the Copa Sudamericana.
The team recruited 22 new players and hosted Brazilian league champions Palmeiras in Saturday’s friendly.
Three players who survived the crash, received the Copa Sudamericana before the game at the Arena Conda stadium.
Defenders Neto and Alan Ruschel and goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, who had his leg amputated, were among the six survivors.
They received the trophy and medals alongside families of the victims in front of 20,000 fans at Chapecoense’s sold-out stadium, while another survivor, radio reporter Rafael Henzel, commentated on the game.
The club gave 241 journalists from around the world accreditation for the game.
The game stopped on 71 minutes as players from both teams and supporters stood and clapped in honour of the victims, before continuing with the match.
|Chapecoense plane crash timeline|
|29 November 2016: Chapecoense team in plane crash|
|3 December 2016: Fans unite for stadium memorial|
|5 December 2016: Team awarded Copa Sudamericana|
|26 December 2016: Colombia blames human error|
Chapecoense were awarded the Copa Sudamericana trophy following the disaster, a move backed by Colombian club Atletico Nacional, who were scheduled to face them in the final.
To rebuild the side, sporting director Rui Costa has recruited 22 players, most of them on loan, and appointed Vagner Mancini as manager.
Douglas Grolli scored Chapecoense’s first goal and Amaral added a second as they drew 2-2 with Palmeiras.
Half of the match proceeds will go to the families of those killed, while the rest will be used to rebuild the club.
Mani Djazmi, BBC World Service Sport at the Arena Conda stadium
The next chapter of Chapecoense’s life has begun. Before the match, those who died were honoured, and their relatives given medals.
The three surviving players received the Copa Sudamericana trophy on behalf of their fallen team mates and the people of Chapeco.
Folman, who was the reserve goalkeeper, came in a wheelchair, from his hospital bed, where he’s recovering from a partial leg amputation.
But after the emotion, the glorious triviality of football: the cheering, the drums, yellow cards, and, best of all, four goals.
Palmeiras’ equaliser, scored by Vitinho from outside the area, recieved warm applause from the home fans, showing that this was a match, not of team against team, but a display of two teams together.