Chapecoense face relegation battle in Brazil months after plane crash

Chapecoense were decimated by a plane crash last year

The reconstituted Chapecoense team is seen here before a match on June 28, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Brazilian football team which was decimated by a plane crash is now battling relegation, nine months on from the tragedy.

Chapecoense were on their way to a Copa Sudamerica match last November when their plane went down in the mountains near Medellin, killing almost the entire squad.

Now, despite a global tide of goodwill and support, the hastily reconstituted team is struggling in the Brazilian league after 11 matches of the new season.

Chapecoense are just three points off the relegation places after a 3-3 draw with Fluminese, which also saw one of the club's players sent off.

They have now gone four matches without a win, a sequence which included a brutal 5-1 defeat - a far cry from the amazing form which saw the club, known as Chape by fans, reach the Copa Sudamerica tournament.

However there has been some good news for Chapecoense in recent days, with Spanish giants Barcelona agreeing to host the Brazilian club for a prestigious friendly.

The match will be played at Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium on August 7. The Catalan club say the match will help Chapecoense "rebuild institutionally and recover the competitive level it had before the tragedy".