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Chapecoense survives relegation one year on from tragedy

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 11: Apodi (C) of Chapecoense celebrates a scored goal with Túlio de Melo during the match between Botafogo and Chapecoense as part of Brasileirao Series A 2017 at Engenhao Stadium on October 11, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Apodi; Túlio de Melo

Alexandre Loureiro

Chapecoense has completed likely one of the most improbable feats in soccer history.

Nearly one year since a tragic plane crash killed nearly all of the first-team squad, Chapecoense on Thursday confirmed that the club would stay in Brazil’s Serie A with a 2-1 win over Vitoria, ensuring it wouldn’t be relegated. In addition, Chapecoense could still qualify for the Copa Libertadores, as it only sits four points behind the last Copa Libertadores place in the standings with three games remaining.

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The team has relied a lot on loaned players from other Brazilian clubs, while other veterans such as former Lille striker Tulio De Melo have returned to Brazil to help keep Chapecoense up and the dream to win a European competition alive. De Melo scored the game winning goal against Vitoria to ensure the club would remain in the top flight.