Chapecoense made an emotional return to the pitch on Saturday for the first time since last year’s air disaster resulted in the tragic deaths of most of their players and staff.
The Brazilian club played a friendly against champions Palmeiras at their 22,000-seat Arena Conda, and lifted the Copa Sudamericana trophy following the game.
Emotions ran high in the stadium and across the city of Chapeco as the two sides played out a 2-2 draw.
The result was largely irrelevant though, with the focus on respecting the victims of the plane crash, and welcoming a new era for the club.
Jackson Follmann, one of only three players that survived the air disaster, was in tears as he held the Copa Sudamericana trophy after full time.
One of the new signings, Wellington Paulista, said – via the Sun: “Today was different. It all went well and it was good for everyone, most importantly the fans here in Chapeco.”
There were more than 20 new players on show in Saturday’s game, while another of the survivors, defender Alan Ruschel, joined in training on Friday.
The third survivor, Helio Neto, returned to the club on crutches last week to begin physiotherapy on the road to recovery.
Chapecoense begin the new season against Joinville on January 26.