Chapecoense has avoided relegation in the Brazilian championship almost one year after an air crash killed 19 of its players in Colombia.

The team from southern Brazil beat Vitoria 2-1 at home late Thursday to retain a place in the championship with three rounds to go. Chapecoense sits 10th in the 20-team standings.

On November 29 last year, a plane carrying the team to the final of the Copa Sudamericana crashed onto a hillside near Medellin, killing 71 people including most of Chape’s board and several journalists.

During the match, as in all others since the air crash, fans chanted “Vamos, vamos Chape” (Let’s go Chape) at 71 minutes in reference to the total number of victims.

The club said this month it will not mark the anniversary in a major way out of respect to the families of the victims.

Chapecoense was offered immunity from relegation because of its totally new squad, but refused it. Its fans regretted the decision until a streak of victories in the last month eased the tension.

Chape’s season had other glorious moments, including the friendly against Barcelona at the Camp Nou despite the 5-0 defeat.

The Santa Catarina state championship was successfully defended, and defender Alan Ruschel, one of the three survivors of the crash, also returned to action. His team-mate Neto, another survivor, is working to do the same next year.

Goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, who lost part of his right leg, returned to training last week aiming to become a Brazilian Paralympic athlete.

On Wednesday, Sao Paulo-based Corinthians, leading the competition by 10 points, was crowned Brazilian champion for the seventh time.

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