On a Day Honoring Chapecoense, Atletico Nacional debut in Florida Cup with Victory over Atletico Mineiro

On Sunday afternoon, the Colombian 2017 1st Apertura Champions beat Atlético Mineiro 2-0 at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando. With the victory, El Verde is currently in the hunt for the 2018 Florida Cup trophy. Striker Andrés Rentería opened the scoring in the 37th minute of the first half, and midfielder Jeison Lucumi fired a screamer from outside the 18 in the 24th minute of the second half to seal the victory.

The day was marked by a special memorial to Chapecoense. Former goalkeeper Jakson Follmann, one of the few survivors of the plane tragedy in 2016 and an ambassador of the club, entered the field with the players of Atletico Nacional to a rousing ovation. January 15 (Monday) was declared "Chapecoense Day" in Orlando last year by City Hall to pay tribute to the victims. Today, Orlando District 6 Commissioner Samuel B. Ings delivered a proclamation and honored Follman during opening ceremonies. Brazilian flags could be seen amidst the Colombian fans during the game – a sign of solidarity and affection shared by both communities after the Chape accident.

With Sunday’s result, Atletico Nacional claimed three points and jumped to second place for the title, ahead of Barcelona SC (ECU) in goal differential. The Ecuadorian team beat Legia Warsaw (POL) yesterday and will face Fluminense (BRA) tomorrow. Rangers FC (SCO) leads the tournament, with six points earned in two games. The Florida Cup champion in 2016, Mineiro ended its participation in the 2018 Florida Cup without gaining any points.

Atletico Nacional will return to the field next Saturday, January 20, when they face Legia in St. Petersburg. To capture the title, Nacional will need to win and surpass the goal differential by the Rangers, who have five goals scored and two conceded. If Barcelona wins against Fluminense on Monday, January 15, Atletico will also need to exceed the Ecuadorians goal differential, who already have three goals scored and two conceded. 

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