Chapecoense is nearly one year removed from the tragic plane crash that left 19 of its players and 71 in total dead. On Thursday, the Brazilian soccer club won an emotional game over Vitoria, 2-1, to avoid relegation.
To say it was an emotional win would be a massive understatement.
“We promised to keep the team in Serie A, which is where our warriors left us,” striker Tulio de Melo recently said, via The Associated Press. “We had a difficult year and their memory made us fight until the very end, so Chape remains in the topflight 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 south Brazilian franchise’s fan base has brought on a new tradition since the tragedy as well, chanting “Vamos, vamos Chape” during the 71st minute to pay homage to the total number of victims lost. The crash ultimately had three survivors from the club — Alan Ruschel, Jakson Follmann and Neto.
“The effort we made this year was beyond normal, so I can’t be anything but very happy,” club chairman Plinio David de Nes said after the recent Vitoria match.
Chapecoense noted that it will not have any commemoration on the one-year anniversary out of respect for the victims’ families. However, gates to the pitch will be open on November 29 for fans to leave candles and flowers in order to properly pay homage.