Chapecoense gets Copa Libertadores spot 1 year after tragedy

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2017 file photo, Chapecoense players Neto, left, goalkeeper Follmann, sitting in wheelchair, and Alan Ruschel, right, the three players that survived a LaMia air crash, arrive for a Sudamericana trophy award ceremony, in Chapeco, Brazil. The soccer club is opening the gates of its stadium on midnight Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, so fans can pray and pay their respects to victims of the LaMia flight that crashed near Medellin a year ago, killing 71 people including 19 Chapecoense players. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s Chapecoense has secured a spot in the next edition of the Copa Libertadores tournament one year after a plane crash killed 19 of its players.

The southern Brazilian team beat Coritiba 2-1 Sunday with a last-minute winning goal. Chapecoense finished eighth in the local championship and qualified for South America’s most prestigious soccer club tournament in 2018.

Midfielder Elicarlos equalized for Chapecoense and striker Tulio de Melo scored the winner.

Players celebrated in tears at the Arena Conda stadium, where on Wednesday a vigil and a memorial ceremony were held for the 71 victims of the crash in November last year.

Defender Alan Ruschel, one of the survivors of the tragedy, did not play in the match but called Chapecoense’s qualification "amazing."


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