Atlético Nacional pay emotional tribute to victims of Colombia plane crash

• Doves released and candles lit at packed Atanasio Girardot stadium
• Members of Chapecoense team died in tragedy en route to venue

Players, staff and supporters of Atlético Nacional paid an emotional tribute to the victims of the Colombian plane crash that led to the death of 71 passengers, including members of the Brazilian club Chapecoense.

Nacional were scheduled to face Chapecoense at their Atanasio Girardot stadium on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final but instead the venue was the scene of a great show of unity and grief.

Nacional players gathered around the centre-circle holding white flowers while 45,000 spectators filled the stands holding white candles and chanting “please remember across the continent, we will never forget the champions Chapecoense”.

Federico Gutiérrez, the mayor of Medellín, also released 71 white doves to symbolise each of the casualties in Tuesday’s tragedy. The words “Eternal Champions” was also written on the large screen at the Atanasio. The spectators then rose in ovation as the name of each victim was shown, holding up their candles that lit up the night sky.

Nacional conceded the championship in the aftermath of the tragedy, meaning Chapecoense will be crowned Sudamerica Cup champions for the first time.

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