Please Wait . . .
Chapecoense are back "among giants" inthe Campeonato Brasileiro after securing promotion from Serie B on Tuesday.
They were relegated to the second tier in 2019, having incredibly managed to retain their top-flight status for two straight seasons after an aircraft carrying thesquad, club officialsand journalists to the 2016 Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin crashed, killing 71 people on board.
Chape were also last December hit by the death ofpresidentPaulo Magro due to coronavirus. He began attemptstoget the club out of a dire financial situation following the resignation of Plinio David deNesFilho, who had takenchargefollowing the tragedy in Colombia.
Theirfunds will be boosted after PaulinhoMoccelinand Derlan scored either side of half-time againstFigueirense, with Chape holding on for a 2-1 victory after Diego Goncalves scored from the penalty spot,sendingthem back to Serie A with four games to spare.
A club statement read: "It was not easy to get here. It was much tougher than we imagined, in fact. But with work, humility, dedication, unity and, above all, with the STRENGTH FROM ABOVE, Chapecoense kept its promise. Chapecoense – made for the people, by the people – returned to the place it should never have left.
"It is Chape, of the impossible, of the surprising, of resilience and overcoming, again among giants.
"You can celebrate, fan. You can celebrate, president! With 66 points and four games left we have stamped our passport. Our return ticket. The beginning of another great story."
Chape's poor run prior to theFigueirenseclash saw themsurrender top spot to America Mineiro, who hold a one-point advantage.
Head coach UmbertoLouzerurged the players not to celebrate promotion too hard because he hopes to see them return to theBrasileiraoas champions.
"We can look back and see it was worth it. Thank you to everyone who helped us return to the first division," he toldSporTV.
"We still have a fewgames,we will fight America for the title. We have to celebrate, but rest because we already have to think about the next opponent."
Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo added: "Only those who were in the group last season know about the difficult moments.
"Even with adverse situations, we always believed and showed affection for the club. Wehave tocongratulate everybody. The club deserved to return to Serie A."