- Title: Colombia’s Atletico holds vigil for Chapecoense soccer team following crash
- Date: 1st December 2016
- Summary: CLOSE-UP OF CANDLE IN PERSONS HAND WOMAN HOLDING A CANDLE AS MUSIC PLAYS
- Embargoed: 16th December 2016 03:34
- Keywords: Medellin Colombia Chapecoense Atletico Nacional soccer vigil plane crash
- Location: MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
- City: MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
- Country: Colombia
- Reuters ID: LVA0025B1W287
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: At the moment when they were set to take the field as foes, two soccer teams a continent apart raised their voices in unison on Wednesday (November 30), paying tribute to the 71 lives lost in a plane crash that cancelled the final of the Copa Sudamericana.
Colombia's Atletico Nacional, which was ready to host the first leg of the final on Wednesday night, instead held a ceremony in honor of their fallen rivals Chapecoense, whose plane crashed into a hillside outside of Medellin on Monday (November 28).
Rowdy fans scaled walls into the stadium after the 46,000-person arena filled up an hour before the ceremony began.
Others brought flowers and teared up during a minute of silence at the scheduled kickoff time.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra was visibly and audibly emotional as he addressed the crowd.
"The Brazilian people will never forget how the Colombians felt as if it were their own, this terrible…" he said before pausing.
"…The terrible disaster that destroyed this heroic Chapecoense team's dream. Like some kind of tragic fairytale," Serra added.
Floral wreaths were placed at the center of the pitch and the stadium, full of mostly Colombian, Atletico fans, stood as a band played the Brazilian national anthem, many of them weeping.
"Because it's like as if it had happened to my family. I feel like they were like my dad, my nephews, my brothers, they are people who… in addition to being soccer fanatics like us, it hurts my soul because for (Atletico) Nacional, it now feels like Chapecoense is a part of us," said Atletico fan Sofia Sanchez.
The fans sang soccer songs in support of Chapecoense throughout the night and chanted, "Vamos, vamos, Chape!" which translates to, "Let's go, let's go, Chape!" Chape being short for Chapecoense.
Nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) away, Chapacoense fans also filled their stadium in a remote corner of southern Brazil, holding a second night of vigil for their team whose stunning rise from the fourth division in Brazil to the continent's top tier had captured the country's imagination.
Atletico Nacional has offered the title to Chapecoense, although directors of the Brazilian club said they liked the idea of sharing the honor.
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