SAO PAULO: Chapecoense have played their first game since most of their team were killed in a plane crash on November 29, drawing 2-2 with Brazilian champions Palmeiras in a friendly.
Seventy-one people, including 19 players and staff, were killed as the Brazilian team travelled to Colombia for the final of the Copa Sudamericana. To rebuild the side, sporting director Rui Costa has recruited 22 players, most of them on loan, and appointed Vagner Mancini as manager.
Douglas Grolli scored Chapecoense’s first goal and Amaral added a second as they drew 2-2 with Palmeiras. Half of the match proceeds will go to the families of those killed, while the rest will be used to rebuild the club.
Three players were among the six crash survivors: defenders Neto and Alan Ruschel and goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, who had his leg amputated. The trio accepted the Copa Sudamericana trophy before the game at the sold-out 20,000-capacity Arena Conda.
Families of the victims were also present while another survivor, radio reporter Rafael Henzel, commentated on the game. The club gave 241 journalists from around the world accreditation for the game.
The game stopped on 71 minutes as players from both teams and supporters stood and clapped in honour of the victims, before continuing with the match. A stadium announcer said a similar tribute would be paid in every Chapecoense match from now on.
Chapecoense were awarded the Copa Sudamericana after the disaster, an award proposed by Colombian club Atletico Nacional, who were scheduled to face them in the final.
In a ceremony before kick-off, families of the crash victims received medals in their honour, and the three players who survived received the Copa Sudamericana final.