LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea’s Brazilian players led emotional Premier League tributes on Saturday to the victims of the Chapecoense football club who died in Monday’s Colombian air crash.
Only three of the players who flew north from Brazil for the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional survived the crash in the mountains outside Medellin, leaving the football world in mourning.
A minute’s silence was observed at each Premier League game on Saturday and nowhere was the emotion felt more than at the Etihad Stadium where the Brazilian players of Chelsea and Manchester City offered their tributes.
Defender David Luiz dedicated leaders Chelsea’s 3-1 win to the victims.
“I give this victory to the people who died,” said the Brazilian who was devastated by the death of his former Vitoria team mate Arthur Maia in the crash.
“It was a difficult week for us especially emotionally,” added Luiz who along with countryman and goal-scorer Willian held up a black armband as a salute after Chelsea took the lead.
“It was difficult to prepare my head for this type of game. Now we pray for the families, for comfort, as it is a very hard time for them.”
Chelsea’s Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa, who netted the equaliser, said: ”We pray for them, that God comforts their hearts.
“I had some friends there. It’s a sad moment for everybody and we hope we can help them somehow.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez