Just six months after their first team squad was tragically killed in a plane crash, Chapecoense have gone top of the Brazilian SÃ©rie A for the first time in their history.
It is an incredible achievement for the club, their players, the staff andÂ for football. Admittedly, we are only three games into the SÃ©rie 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 SÃ£o 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 aÂ 2-0 win against their local state rivals AvaÃ.
What makes this run of results even more impressive is that they have done itÂ in between Libertadores matches, as well as an arduous long trip to Colombia, where they played, and lost to AtlÃ©tico 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.Â Chapecoense also picked up a Santa Catarinense State title by beating state rivals AvaÃ in the State Championship final. Given the turnover of players, I, like many others, expected Chapecoense to struggle this year. Avoiding relegationÂ 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 AvaÃ 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,Â dedicated SÃ©rie A page. For more on all of the SÃ©rie A teams, their best players and up and coming stars, check out our SÃ©rie A preview.
I’ve also updated the Copa Libertadores page with theÂ final group standings.
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