Chapecoense knocked out of Copa Libertadores by default

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The plane crash involving Chapecoense players, staff and journalists in November 2016 is still fresh in the memory due to the magnitude of the tragedy.

Only six of the 77 passengers survived including Neto, Alan Ruschel and Jackson Follmann, marking an awful event that will scar the football world forever.

Remarkably, the club has rebuilt itself from a position of utter catastrophe and remained competitive on all fronts.

While the last six months have proven Chapecoense have the strength and integrity to overcome anything, another setback has struck just when they were getting back on track.

The club – led by manager Vagner Mancini – has been knocked out of the Copa Libertadores despite securing a 2-1 victory away from home against Lanus of Argentina.

CONMEBOL on Tuesday announced, as per Goal, the hosts would be awarded a 3-0 victory and a path to the last 16 after ruling Chapecoense fielded a player who should have been suspended for the match of May 17.

Ironically, the offending player was found to be Luiz Otavio – whose match-winner has now counts for nothing. The defender was supposed to be suspended due to being sent off in the previous fixture against Nacional.

Chapecoense are able to appeal the penalty but at this stage will not qualify for the knockout rounds after being dropped to last place behind Lanus, Nacional and Zulia.

However, should they take maximum points from their final group fixture against Zulia on Tuesday, Chapecoense would earn the consolation of a place in the Copa Sudaamericana.

From 2017 onwards, a third-place finish in each Libertadores will enter the competition at the last 32-stage of the 47-club competition.

Regardless of how CONMEBOL choose to act on an appeal from Chapecoense, history indicates they will give everything to extract some benefit from an unfavourable situation.

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Brazil Football
Philippe Coutinho

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