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  • 26 Jul
    CHAPECO, Brazil -- On a rainy Saturday that only accentuated the grief, 20,000 people filled a tiny stadium under umbrellas and plastic ponchos to say goodbye to members of the Chapecoense soccer club who died in a plane crash.The accident Monday in the Colombian Andes claimed most of the teams players and staff as it headed to the finals of one of Latin Americas most important club tournaments. Seventy-one of the 77 people on board died, including 19 players on the team.Rain-soaked mourners jammed the modest stadium with four or five times that many outside to pay homage to a modest club that nearly reached the pinnacle of Latin American soccer. In total, about half the population of the southern Brazilian city of 210,000 gathered.Thousands also lined the roads as the coffins were driven in a procession from the airport to the stadium memorial.Ive been here since early morning, said 19-year-old Chaiane Lorenzetti, who said she worked at a local supermarket frequented by club players and officials. Ill never see some of my clients again. Its a devastating day that will last forever.Soldiers wearing berets carried the coffins into the stadium on their shoulders, sloshing through standing water and mud on a field filled with funeral wreaths, club and national flags, and other tributes.A tent, with the coffins placed underneath, stretched across the width of the soccer field. On top of the white tent, a sentence from the clubs anthem was written for all to read.In happiness and in the most difficult hours, it said. You are always a winner.Family members and friends wept under the tents. Many hunched over the coffins with photos of the deceased placed on top or alongside as almost everything got splattered by the non-stop rain.Brazilian President Michel Temer, who had not planned to visit the stadium for fear of being jeered, showed up after greeting the arrival of the bodies at the airport. He was treated respectfully and was joined by Gianni Infantino, the head of FIFA -- the world governing body of soccer.This is a time for pain and suffering, not for talking, Infantino said. No words can diminish the suffering.Marco Polo Del Nero, the head of the Brazilian Football Confederation, was mildly applauded but also had insults shouted his way.Del Nero has been indicted by U.S. officials on corruption charges, although he has not been extradited.You only came here because its inside Brazil, one fan shouted, referring to the fact that Del Nero is likely to be arrested on a warrant if he leaves Brazil.Del Neros predecessor, Jose Maria Marin, is under house arrest in the United States awaiting a trial.He was among top soccer officials arrested 18 months in raids in Switzerland.The loudest applause was probably for Brazils new national team coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi -- known universally as Tite (pronounced Chi-Chi). He has led Brazil to six straight victories since taking over, quickly becoming a national hero.Ivan Tozzo, the acting president of the club, told fans the club would continue on, and reminded them that it was here on this field where this club fought the good fight.This team taught us that everything is possible, he added, recalling the team rose in less than a decade from the depths of Brazilian club soccer to the final of the No. 2 tournament on the soccer-crazed continent.In closing he added, We are all Chapecoense.Chapeco Mayor Luciano Buligon, like several speakers, praised the aid Colombia provided -- along with the club Atletico Nactional, the team Chapecoense was to play in the two-game final.Atletico Nacional summed it all up on its website, the mayor said. Atletico said Chapecoense came to Medellin with a dream, and it leaves a legend. Legends dont die.The stadium memorial came after a heart-wrenching week for residents and family members stunned by the crash.Hundreds of banners, flags and handwritten messages hung around the stadium -- in Portuguese, Spanish and English.One sign in Spanish was aimed at Colombian officials who helped with the rescue. Six people survived, including three players.Colombia, Thanks For Everything it read.They deserve a farewell of champions, said Tatiana Bruno, who stood inside the stadium in the rain, wearing a plastic poncho to stay dry.It wasnt clear exactly how many coffins were brought into the stadium, though television reports put a rough count at 50. Most of the people who died, including the 19 players, were not from Chapeco and were to be buried elsewhere.The rain let up at the end of the two-hour memorial, lifting some of the gloom. It also allowed family members and friends to circle the field, many with photos raised high of the deceased.Ahead of the memorial, the bodies arrived in Chapeco on overnight flights from Colombia.The caskets were received by soldiers waiting in formation on the tarmac. Under heavy rain, they removed one at a time, wheeling them through standing puddles to vehicles to transport them to the stadium.Staff at the Jardim do Eden cemetery, where some victims will be buried, said on Friday they were used to the business of death, but not a tragedy of this size.We bury two people every day. Ive done this job for a long time, but this is different, said Dirceu Correa, caretaker of the cemetery. It is a tragedy for the families, for the club, and also for us because we are a part of the city.---Savarese reported from Chapeco, and Wade from Rio de Janeiro.---Mauricio Savarese on Twitter: .His work can be found at Wade on Twitter: . His work can be found at Andrew Chafin Diamondbacks Jersey . -- Arizona knocked off some quality opponents, rolled over a few overmatched ones and grinded out victories even when things didnt go so well. Taijuan Walker Diamondbacks Jersey . -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for roughly four weeks after tearing his left hamstring. . Miller reached right to deflect Mikhail Grabovskis attempt with just over 2 minutes remaining in regulation, and then made two more saves in the shootout Sunday to give the Sabres a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Matt Szczur Diamondbacks Jersey . After slipping from the summit during the week, the Gunners overcame struggling Crystal Palace 2-0 on Sunday thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlains second-half brace. Archie Bradley Jersey . -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson asked his players a simple question during Fridays morning shootaround: How many of them had ever been on a team 14 games over . CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers are trying their best to emulate last seasons Kansas City Chiefs.To do that, they must beat this seasons Chiefs on Sunday.The 2015 Chiefs did what 90 other NFL teams since 1990 had failed to do -- rebound from a 1-5 start to make the playoffs. They did it by running the table, winning their final 10 regular-season games.Carolina started 1-5 this season. But it has won two games since the bye week and there is a renewed sense of confidence and momentum. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he shared the Chiefs story with his team a couple of weeks ago, telling them there is hope.Its been done before, Rivera said.Last years league MVP Cam Newton believes the Panthers have what it takes to bounce back.The seasons not over yet, Newton said. ... Were right where we want to be. Were in a position to compete and challenge teams and they know that.It wont be easy.The Chiefs are riding a four-game winning streak and have won 16 of their last 18 regular season games.Rivera said he briefly thought about calling Reid, whom he worked under as an assistant coach in Philadelphia, to get some advice, but thought better of it knowing the Chiefs were coming up on the schedule.If theres anybody that can turn things around for the NFC champions it would seem to be Newton. Although the Panthers started last season 14-0, they are typically slow starters -and strong finishers -- under the 2011 No. 1 pick. Newton has won 72 percent (31-12) of the games hes started from November through January, as opposed to 42 percent (17-24-1) in September and October.ALEX RETURNS: Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is back under center after missing last weeks game against Jacksonville with a head injury. Smith was never diagnosed with a concussion, but two hard hits he sustained in Indianapolis left him woozy on the field, and Reid decided early last week that sitting out a game would be in Smiths best interest.Nick Foles started in his place.I felt really good regardless, Smith said. Thankfully Nick and the rest of the guys got the W, thats what is most important. Obviously I was doing everything I could to try and help in whatever way it is. Im pumped and happy to get back and get going this week.FORD TOOUGH: Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford was a teammate with Newton at Auburn.ddddddddddddNewton remembers it well.Hes always had that professional sense that you had to respect, and I saw that at Auburn, and its just great to see hard work pay off, Newton said.The Chiefs only have 16 sacks this season and nine of those belong to Ford. The 2014 first-round pick was largely considered a bust before coming on late last year, and hes been crucial as the Chiefs await Justin Houstons return from knee surgery. And 5 1-2 of those sacks have come in the last two weeks.I think hes very comfortable with the defense now, Reid said. Its a fairly complicated defense, but hes got a pretty good grasp of it. I think hes probably gotten stronger since weve gotten him. I think hes spent a ton of time in that weight room. Hes got himself in shape to where he can do this back-to-back thing.HOUSTON, WE HAVE NO PROBLEM: Chiefs linebacker Houston makes his first return to the lineup this week after recovering from a knee injury last season. The four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher was removed from the physically unable to perform list earlier this week, but has not played in a game since having surgery to repair his left ACL in February.SACK ATTACK: Carolina is getting after the QB. The Panthers have a dozen sacks in their last two games, matching their total from the first six games. A big part of that is the Panthers playing with the lead and playing less mobile quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Case Keenum. This week theyll face Smith, who has deceiving speed and athleticism.CENTER OF ATTENTION: Keep an eye on the Panthers center situation. Two-time All-Pro Ryan Kalil and his backup Gino Gradkowski have been held out of practice this week, which means guard Chris Scott could be pressed into duty. Scott has very limited experience playing center, which could make it interesting if the Panthers limit the number of snaps Newton takes from the shotgun.---AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City contributed to this report.---For more NFL coverage: and ' ' '