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Chapecoense set club record almost one year after tragic plane accident

Chapecoense won 1-0 at Bahia on Sunday to set a club record of nine games unbeaten in Campeonato Brasileiro and maintain their hopes of qualifying for the Copa Libertadores.

The Brazilian club, who had to rebuild their squad following a tragic plane accident that killed most of the team almost a year ago, sealed all three points thanks to Wellington Paulista's first-half goal.

"We have evolved," Chapecoense coach Gilson Kleina told his club's website.

"We have taken points in the past nine games, clinched our fifth win [in that run] and that has helped the team gain confidence and achieve our goal which was to stay in Serie A. We are happy for that."

Earlier this month, Chapecoense retained their place in Brazil's top division with three games to spare and the players celebrated what has been a very challenging season.

Neto
Neto (pictured) is one of just six survivors from the tragic plane crash that killed 19 Chapecoense players.

Kleina praised his players and said it has been an all-round group effort.

"We still have one game to go," he said. "I emphasise that the atmosphere of Chapecoense is very positive. When the players buy the idea, the work is well done and the board is active, things gel and start to go well."

Chapecoense are ninth in the Campeonato Brasileiro standings heading into their final league game of the season at home to Coritiba on Sunday.

The top six teams from Brazil's top flight qualify for the 2018 Copa Libertadores and Flamengo are currently sixth, with Chapecoense just two points adrift heading into the final round.

However, three further spots could still open up for Brazilian teams to qualify for next year's Copa Libertadores.

For that to happen Cruzeiro, Gremio and Flamengo must all end the season in the top six positions, Gremio must win the 2017 Copa Libertadores and Flamengo must qualify through the Copa Sudamericana tournament.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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