Just six months after their first team squad was tragically killed in a plane crash, Chapecoense have gone top of the Brazilian Série A for the first time in their history.
It is an incredible achievement for the club, their players, the staff and for football. Admittedly, we are only three games into the Série A season and I don’t think anybody expects Chapecoense to remain in this lofty position. But they fully deserve to be where they are, for now.
Their opening fixtures have arguably been the most difficulty of any team in the division; on the first day of the season they held Corinthians to a draw in São Paulo, in a game that they could consider themselves unlucky not to have won. They deservedly beat defending Champions Palmeiras last week and followed that up this past weekend with a 2-0 win against their local state rivals Avaí.
What makes this run of results even more impressive is that they have done it in between Libertadores matches, as well as an arduous long trip to Colombia, where they played, and lost to Atlético Nacional in the Recopa Sudamericana final. They lost that game 4-1 (and 5-3 on aggregate). They also finished third in their Copa Libertadores group, meaning that they won’t progress to the next round of that competition.
They will, however, drop into the Copa Sul-Americana. Considering this was their first ever qualification for the Copa Libertadores, their two victories, seven points and third place finished is something to be proud of. Chapecoense also picked up a Santa Catarinense State title by beating state rivals Avaí in the State Championship final. Given the turnover of players, I, like many others, expected Chapecoense to struggle this year. Avoiding relegation would even be considered a success! It’s early days, of course, but those expectations may need to be re-calibrated before long.
None of the starting line up in the game against Avaí last night were at the club last season – many of the players have joined on loan from other Brazilian clubs, who, in a very nice touch, have loaned Chapecoense players at a cut-price rate.
For the rest of the results from this weekend’s action, check out Brazilfooty’s new, dedicated Série A page. For more on all of the Série A teams, their best players and up and coming stars, check out our Série A preview.
I’ve also updated the Copa Libertadores page with the final group standings.
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Note that the 3rd at group stage in Libertadores is due a punishment for irregular lineup of the defender Luis Otávio against Lanús. With those points, they’d be 2nd in Group 7.
Thanks Gustavo. I didn’t realise that – that makes their achievements so far this year even more impressive!