Chapecoense win first match since air disaster

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 30 (IANS) Brazilian Serie A football club Chapecoense have won their first competitive match since the plane crash in November that killed most of their players and coaching staff.

The team affectionately known as Chape overcame Internacional de Lages 2-1 in the first round of the Catarinense state championship at the Conda Arena here on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency

Commenting on the match, Chapecoense coach Vagner Mancini said: “Our aim was to make the fans feel happy again. To have their support today and feel their affection is very important. The roar after the second goal was intense and gave everybody a lift.

“It was an assured performance and we had more chances than Internacional, but in my opinion we were a bit inconsistent. We need more matches to iron out our problems,” he added.

As many as 71 people died, including 19 Chapecoense players, when the LaMia plane carrying the Brazilian club’s squad slammed into a hillside near Medellin, Colombia.

The tragedy occurred just two days before Chapecoense were due to play Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final.