November 28 – Chapecoense have been relegated from the Brazilian top flight, ending a six-year spell in the first division that was punctuated by the dramatic airline crash that killed 71 people three years ago.
In November 2016 the club’s plane crashed on the way to Colombia for the final of the Copa Sudamerica, South America’s second tier club competition. The crash all but wiped out Chapecoense’s team and back room staff.
With support from around the world and some loan recruitments, the club miraculously managed to recover and escape relegation twice in dramatic fashion, but there was to be no repeat on Wednesday night when the club from the state of Santa Catarina were defeated at home by fellow strugglers Botafogo 1-0.
Chapecoense have endured a terrible season with just six wins. With three matches before the championship wraps up they have been relegated for the first time since 2013, when the club joined the top division. Avai had already been relegated and two more clubs await the same fate before the end of the season.
“First of all, I want to apologise to the fans,” said Chapecoense coach Marquinhos Santos “The fans here are different. When a fan stops you, they always encourage you, even when times are tough. Chapecoense are now going to rebuild. Chapecoense are going to come back and come back stronger.”
On Wednesday, Flamengo celebrated its first league title since 2009 with a routine 4-1 win over Ceara, amassing a record 84 points. Last weekend the Rio giants also won the Copa Libertadores defeating River Plate 2-1 in a scintillating final.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1576285320labto1576285320ofdlr1576285320owedi1576285320sni@o1576285320fni1576285320