Chapecoense survivor Ruschel scores in Recopa triumph

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 14 (IANS) Plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel scored Chapecoense’s decisive third goal as the tragedy-stricken football club defeated Tubarao 3-2 to win Brazil’s Recopa Catarinense title.

Ruschel on Saturday deftly lifted a shot over goalkeeper Gabriel after a Vinícius Locatelli cross, handing Chapecoense a 3-0 lead before Tubarao scored two late goals, reports Xinhua news agency.

Chapecoense qualified for the Recopa Catarinense decider by winning last year’s Santa Catarina state championship. Tubarao earned a berth as the reigning Copa Santa Catarina champions.

Seventy-one people died, including 19 Chapecoense players and all of their coaching staff, when the LaMia charter plane in which they were travelling ran out of fuel and slammed into a hillside near the Colombian city of Medellin in November 2016.

The incident occurred just days before Chapecoense were due to meet Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana.

It would have been Chapecoense’s first appearance in a continental final, coming just seven years after they played in Brazil’s fourth division.

Ruschel was one of only six survivors of the crash and is the only one to already return to football.

Despite having to rebuild their squad almost from scratch, Chapecoense finished eighth in Brazil’s Serie A championship last year, earning a place in this year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition.

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