Chapecoense’s fightback against adversity continued on Saturday when they clinched the Brazilian Serie B title – which was sealed with a Panenka penalty.
The club have a huge amount of goodwill around the world after the plane crash that took the lives of 19 players in 2016 – with only six of the 77 onboard the flight surviving.
The team fought on and finished a brilliant eighth in the top-flight table in 2017, but the magnitude of the crash took a toll and they slipped to 14th in 2018 and suffered relegation in 2019.
But they have bounced back and will be in the Brazilian top flight again next season. Promotion had already been secured ahead of the final game of the season against Confianca, but the prospect of silverware was standing before them.
They took an early lead through Anselmo Ramon, but were pegged back when Isnairo Reis Silva Morais netted on 55 minutes for Confianca.
Pedro Henrique Perotti fired Chapecoense back in front on 79 minutes and they were holding on for the win when they were awarded a penalty deep into injury-time.
It was a soft spot-kick, but it handed Chapecoense the chance to seal the win and the title. The goal was needed as they trailed America Mineiro on goal difference.
Ramon was charged with the task of converting, and he did not let his team-mates down. Whether planned or a spur-of-the-moment decision, Ramon stepped up and dinked the coolest of Panenka penalties to secure the title.
Chapecoense need to score in the last minute to win Serie B.
They get a penalty… 😎😎😎pic.twitter.com/pWFkXTo42G
— Goal (@goal) January 30, 2021
The game ended on a sour note as Denner Fernando Melz of Chapecoense and Confianca’s goalscorer Morais were shown red cards shortly before the final whistle, but that did not detract from the win.
Upon the final whistle, the club wrote on Twitter: “By merit, by right, with a lot of fight, Chapecoense is champion of Brazil’s Serie B.
“Our strength comes from the top.”
There were wild celebrations upon the presentation of the trophy and despite coronavirus, the players took to an open-top bus for a ride through the city.
Chapecoense topped the standings with 73 points, the same as America Mineiro, but they had a superior goal difference of one thanks to Ramon’s Panenka.