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August 22, 2017

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Survivor from soccer team plane crash makes emotional return against Barcelona

MADRID - Chapecoense plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel made an emotional return to football on Monday, playing in a friendly game against Barcelona.

The midfielder played the first 35 minutes of the match before receiving a standing ovation from the crowd when he was substituted off.

Ruschel was among six survivors when a plane, carrying 77 people, crashed into the Colombian hillside ahead of the Brazilian team's first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional in Medellin on November 22.

Barcelona had invited Chapecoense to play its traditional season-opening match - the Joan Gamper Trophy game - as a gesture of solidarity with the team.

Fellow survivors, defender Neto and goalkeeper Jackson Follmann who had part of his leg amputated, took part in the kick-off before walking off the field.

Barcelona won the game 5:0, with goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Denis Suarez.

In addition to the three players involved in the Barcelona game, two team staff members and radio reporter Rafael Henzel survived the crash.

Henzel was also present at Monday's game, calling it live.

The Brazilian team - popularly referred to as "Chape" - was newly formed after the crash and is currently placed 16th in the country's first league.

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