Playing in the final of the Copa Sudamericana was to be the highlight of a glorious season for the team from a small state city in the state of Santa Catarina, which has fewer than 200,000 inhabitants.
Founded in 1973, the team has been playing in Brazil’s Serie A since only 2014 but is currently ninth ahead of much more famous and established teams such as Sao Paulo, Fluminense and Cruzeiro.
Last week, it became the first Brazilian team in three years to make it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second most important club competition, after beating Argentine side San Lorenzo.
One of the founders of the club, Alvadir Pelisser, told BBC Brasil the tragedy had put an “end to everyone’s dream”. “We were a family, I’m shocked,” he added. Story: BBC