Chapecoense win first title since tragic plane crash

Chapecoense clinched the second stage of the Campeonato Catarinense, making it the first title that the Brazilian club has won since the November plane crash that killed 71, including most of their team.

The Campeonato Catarinense is the Santa Clarita state championship. By winning the second stage, Chapecoense earned a spot in the two-legged final, where they will play first stage winners Avai in May.

Chapecoense clinched the second stage title with a 2-0 win over Joinville on Saturday. Making it all the more sweeter for Chapecoense is that the competition was renamed after Sandro Pallaoro, their club president who was among the 71 who passed away in the tragic plane crash.

It’s remarkable that Chapecoense have won a title so quickly. In addition to the mental and emotional pain suffered, they also had to rebuild their team essentially from scratch because almost all of their players passed in the crash. Chapecoense relied on loan deals, which was aided by the generosity of clubs from around the country who made players available to aid Chapecoense’s recovery.