Chapecoense pay the price for field­ing sus­pended player

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ASUNCION: Chapecoense were docked three points for field­ing a sus­pended player and op­po­nents Lanus awarded a 3-0 win on Tues­day, end­ing the Brazil­ian team’s Copa Lib­er­ta­dores hopes.

They had dreamt of a fairy­tale run in a com­pe­ti­tion they qual­i­fied for af­ter be­ing awarded the sec­ond-tier Copa Su­damer­i­cana fol­low­ing a plane crash in the Colom­bian city of Medellin last Novem­ber in which most of their team died.

Tues­day’s sanc­tion by South Amer­i­can foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body CONMEBOL means Chapecoense can­not reach the knock­out stages.

The Brazil­ian side beat Ar­gentina’s Lanus 2-1 on May 17 but CONMEBOL ruled that Luiz Otavio, who scored the win­ner with three min­utes re­main­ing, was sus­pended for the match.

The de­fender had been sent off in the pre­vi­ous game but Chapecoense ar­gued at a tri­bunal that CONMEBOL’s lack of clear com­mu­ni­ca­tions had led them to com­mit the er­ror.

The sanc­tion means Chapecoense drop to last place in the four-team ta­ble with four points and one match re­main­ing.

Lanus are now top with 10 points while Uruguay’s Na­cional are sec­ond on eight and Zu­lia from Venezuela have five.

Last year, the plane car­ry­ing the Chapecoense squad crashed into a moun­tain as it ap­proached Medellin and all bar three of the play­ers on board were killed as they trav­elled to face Atletico Na­cional in the Copa Su­damer­i­cana fi­nal.

The fi­nal was can­celled and CONMEBOL awarded the ti­tle to Chapecoense, which had guar­an­teed them en­try into this year’s Lib­er­ta­dores for the first time. Reuters

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