Monday 25 September 2017

Chapecoense and Atletico Nacional contested an emotional first leg of the Recopa Sudamericana

By Max McLean

Another step in Chapecoense’s road to recovery after last year’s tragic plane crash.

Chapecoense were travelling to play Atletico Nacional when their plane crashed in November 2016, killing 71 of the 77 passengers on board, so the Recopa Sudamericana final between the sides was an emotional occasion.

The teams were due to play one another in the Copa Sudamericana final last year, but when the crash occurred, killing 19 of Chapecoense’s players and staff, Atletico Nacional asked for the trophy to be awarded to their opponents.

The result is that the two sides met in the Recopa, contested by the winners of the Copa Libertadores (Atletico Nacional) and the winners of the Copa Sudamericana – played over two legs, the first was hosted at Chape’s Arena Conda.

Chapecoense have obviously had to rebuild their team, so it was an astounding result when the home side managed to win 2-1, with goals from Reinaldo and Luiz Otavio proving enough to win the first leg.

The mayors of Chapeco and Medellin embraced one another on the pitch, and on 71 minutes the fans sang: “Vamos, vamos Chape!” meaning “Let’s go Chape!”. Federico Gutierrez, the mayor of Medellin, said: “Fraternity was born out of all this great tragedy”.

The return fixture will take place on May 10 in Medellin’s Antanasio Girardot stadium, where Chape will hope to hold onto their lead.

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