Tears at first game for Brazil plane crash team

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The emotional charity match came two months after 19 members of the Chapecoense club died in the disaster.

Ahead of the friendly against Brazilian champions Palmeiras, three survivors of the crash held aloft the Copa Sudamericana trophy, awarded to the club in the wake of the tragedy.

Relatives of players who perished in the crash comforted each other
Image Caption:Relatives of players who perished in the crash comforted each other

Defender Helio Neto, who survived under the plane wreckage for almost 10 hours, was able to lift the prize in honour of his dead teammates after spending hours in the gym exercising his arms.

He was followed by goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, who had part of his leg amputated as a result of the crash, and winger Alan Ruschel.

All three were in tears during the ceremony, while family members of the victims also broke down as they were awarded medals their loved ones would have received.

The friendly between Chapecoense and Palmeiras ended in a 2-2 draw
Image Caption:The friendly between Chapecoense and Palmeiras ended in a 2-2 draw

The club was awarded the trophy in a move backed by Colombian club Atletico Nacional, which had been due to face Chapecoense in the Copa Sudamericana final.

Six people survived the crash, which happened as the Chapecoense squad approached the Colombian city of Medellin to play the match last November.

The plane ran out of fuel and hit a mountainside, killing 71 people on board, many of them players, officials and reporters on their way to the game.

The charity match in their memory was halted in the 71st minute to chants of “Vamos, Vamos Chape” (Let’s go Chape), in tribute to all those who perished.

Rescue teams work to recover bodies after the Colombia plane crash
Image Caption:The plane ran out of fuel and hit a mountainside, killing 71 people

Former Chapecoense player Janca said: “It is just unbelievable that they managed to rebuild the entire team, and the club board in such a short time.”

He added: “It will take some time until people trust the new players, but there will surely be support for that.”

Fan Diego Sandro, 17, said: “We deserve to do well this season.

“We have been through a lot and still we managed to get back on track.”

The friendly ended in a 2-2 draw.

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