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Chapecoense face Atletico four months after crash

Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) – Four months after a plane crash all but wiped out Chapecoense, the Brazilian club will on Tuesday face the rivals they were on their way to play, Colombia’s Atletico Nacional.

Nineteen Chapecoense players and 24 club officials were killed on November 28 when the team’s plane crashed into the Colombian mountains.

After signing 22 new players, the Brazilian team are trying to rise from the ashes.

They will finally get their chance to take on Atletico in a first-leg match in the Recopa, the South American equivalent of Europe’s Super Cup.

They will play the Colombian side at home in Arena Conda, in the small southern city of Chapeco.

The two clubs share a close bond.

Unsung Chapecoense had been on their way to play the biggest match in their history against Atletico: the final of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second-biggest club tournament.

After the tragedy, Atletico ceded the title to Chapecoense in tribute.

That gave the rebuilding club an automatic ticket to play in this year’s Copa Libertadores, the premier club tournament in South America, for the first time ever.

A series of tributes are planned in Chapeco, including a ceremony of thanks before the match.

“This isn’t just any match. This match represents a lot of history for Chapecoense,” said coach Vagner Mancini.

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