Less than four months after a plane crash killed almost their entire squad, Chapecoense again embarked on an important flight – and this time, the ending was much happier.
The Brazilian side travelled for an overseas fixture for the first time since all but six of the 77 people en-route to Colombia died in a crash in November – and they came away from the emotional fixture with a 2-1 win over Zulia in Venezuela.
ACABOU! FLECHADA HISTÓRICA! 🏹
O Verdão vence a partida na estreia da Libertadores!
Zulia 1x2 ChapecoenseMarch 8, 2017
It was Chape’s first ever game in the Copa Libertadores – the South American equivalent of the Champions League.
Three players survived the November crash, and two of them – defender Neto and winger Alan Ruschel – were named in the squad, although neither featured.
The goals came from Reinaldo and Luiz Antonio.
Both goalscorers are on loan at the club, as are many of the Chape players as they attempt to rebuild their squad.
And when the goals started going in, it’s fair to say there was a lot of excitement.
32' | 1T | GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL DA CHAPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! 🏹#VamosChape— Chapecoense (@ChapecoenseReal) March 8, 2017
GOOOOOOOL DA CHAPEEEE 😻😻😻❤️ #VamosChape— Diário Vascaíno ✠ (@Diariovascainoo) March 8, 2017
¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL CHAPECOENSE!#VamosChape— Imbatibles™ (@Imbatibles_) March 8, 2017
It was a pretty emotional day for a team who were in the middle of a rags-to-riches journey and on the brink of winning the Copa Sudamericana – South America’s Europa League – when tragedy struck.
In the lead-up to the game, Chape players posted pictures of themselves on the plane that took them to Venezuela on social media.
Chapecoense’s first game since the tragedy, against Palmeiras in January, ended in a 2-2 draw.