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Chapecoense survivor Ruschel makes competitive return

Plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel played his first official match since the disaster as Chapecoense drew with Flamengo in the first leg of their Copa Sudamericana last-16 tie.

Ruschel was one of three players to survive – along with Neto and Jackson Follman – after a plane carrying the Chapecoense squad, technical commission and a number of journalists for the first leg of the Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional crashed en route to Medellin two days before the match was due to take place, killing 71 people on board, in November.

The 28-year-old defender made an emotional return to football in the Joan Gamper Trophy against LaLiga giants Barcelona at Camp Nou in August, while he scored in a friendly with Roma on September 1.

But Ruschel made his competitive return on Wednesday, helping Chapecoense hold Flamengo to a goalless draw at Arena Conda.

Ruschel completed 73 minutes before he was replaced, having been an unused substitute in Chapecoense’s Brazilian Serie A loss to Cruzeiro last week.

Chapecoense will travel to Flamengo for the return leg on September 20.

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