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Flowers and messages are seen next a Chapecoense soccer team flag in tribute to their players in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
Flowers and messages are seen next a Chapecoense soccer team flag in tribute to their players in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
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Plane Crash Devastates Brazilian Soccer Team Chapecoense

Picture of Michael LoRé
Sports Editor
Updated: 29 November 2016
A plane carrying the Chapecoense soccer team crashed Nov. 28, 2016, near Medellin, Colombia, killing 76 people and leaving five survivors.

Chapecoense, a Brazilian club formally known as Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, was scheduled to play Atletico Nacional (Colombia) in the final of the Copa Sudamericana; an annual club competition in South America.

The first leg of the cup final was scheduled for Nov. 30, but has since been suspended.

Associação Chapecoense de Futebol was founded May 10, 1973 in the city of Chapecó in the state of Santa Catarina, which has a population of less than 200,000. Chapecoense won its first title four years later in 1977.

After winning four titles in the lower divisions of Brazil’s domestic soccer league (Campeonato Brasileiro), Chapecoense was promoted to the top division (Série A) for the 2014 season. Chapecoense is currently ninth out of 20 teams with one match week to go in the 2015-16 season.

This year’s Copa Sudamericana tournament seemed like a dream come true for Chapecoense. The club overcame a first-leg deficit to advance to the Round of 16. There, Chapecoense defeated Independiente (Argentina) on penalty kicks in the second leg to advance to the quarterfinals, where, again, Chapecoense would rally from a first-leg deficit to advance. The semifinals were equally as dramatic for the Brazilian club, which advanced to the final against Atletico Nacional because of the away-goals tiebreaker after drawing with Argentina’s San Lorenzo 1-1 on the road and 0-0 at home.

According to reports, Copa Sudamericana organizers said Atletico Nacional has requested Chapecoense be awarded this year’s title despite no matches being played due to the tragedy.