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Chapecoense knocked out of Copa Libertadores after fielding suspended player

Goal.com logo Goal.com 23-05-2017

Chapecoense's Copa Libertadores hopes have come to an end after the Brazilian side were punished for fielding a suspended player.

CONMEBOL announced the sanction on Tuesday, with Chapecoense knocked out of the Libertadores as Lanus were awarded a 3-0 win after defender Luiz Otavio was deemed ineligible to play on May 17.

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Luiz Otavio scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Lanus last week but CONMEBOL ruled that he was suspended for the match, having been sent off in the previous fixture against Nacional.

The Argentine team were thus deemed the winners by walkover, a result that sent them into the last 16.

Chapecoense, who will appeal the penalty, cannot qualify for the knockout stages of the competition as they dropped to last place.

With four points from five games heading into Tuesday's final matchday, Chapecoense cannot overhaul Group 7 leaders Lanus (10 points) and Nacional (eight points) even with a win against Zulia.

Victory, however, would assure them the consolation prize of a spot in the Copa Sudamericana, as from 2017 onwards third place in each Libertadores group will enter the competition at the last-32 stage.

It is a cruel blow for the tragedy-stricken club, who were dreaming of continuing their fairytale run in the last 16.

It has been a time of mourning and rebuilding for Chapecoense since a plane carrying the Brazilian squad, technical commission and a number of journalists for the first leg of the 2016 Copa 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.

Only three members of the travelling squad survived - Neto, Alan Ruschel and Jackson Follmann – as Chapecoense were left heartbroken and struggling to field a team.

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