Defeats for the leaders in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico allowed their closest challengers to close in, although there were no such slip-ups for the top dogs in China PR and Australia.
FIFA.com looks back at the latest events in the major leagues outside Europe.
Brasileirao: Top two come undone
A stoppage-time strike from Juninho gave unfancied Atletico Goianiense a surprise 2-1 win over leaders Fluminense, a result that the chasing Corinthians were unable to capitalise on when they went down 1-0 at home to Gremio. Cruzeiro moved into fourth, four points behind Flu after downing Avai 2-1 at home.
Big game: Third-placed Botafogo underlined their championship credentials with a 2-0 victory over Sao Paulo in Rio, Uruguay international Sebastian Abreu hitting the opener for O Fogão.
Headline grabber: The day’s other eye-catching result was the 2-1 defeat Ceara inflicted on Santos, whose title hopes now look even more remote.
Argentinian Apertura: Three-way tie
Rogelio Funes Mori headed his fourth goal of the new season to give River Plate a welcome 1-0 win at home to Arsenal, taking Los Millonarios up to third and sending their opponents down to fifth. Ahead of the Buenos Aires giants on goal difference are Velez Sarsfield, who drew 0-0 with unbeaten San Lorenzo, and Estudiantes, 2-0 victors at home to Racing Club. El Pincha also have a game in hand on Velez and River.
Big game: The result of the day was Godoy Cruz’s excellent 4-1 triumph at Lanus 4-1, which catapulted the Mendoza side up to sixth, just two points behind the leading trio.
Headline grabber: Boca Juniors collected their second win of the campaign when they defeated new boys Olimpo 3-1 in Bahia Blanca. Veteran striker Martin Palermo had a big hand in the win, scoring one and setting up the other two.
Mexican Apertura: Mixed emotions
Cruz Azul maintained their excellent recent form when they brushed Atlas aside 3-1 to extend their advantage in Group 3 to seven points and take to the top in the overall standings. America nosed in front in Group 2 after they saw off Monarcas Morelia 2-0 and Toluca were held to a 1-1 draw at Necaxa.
Big game: Chilean goal machine Humberto Suazo struck his seventh goal of the season as unbeaten Monterrey took the honours in the clásico del norte against Tigres. Los Rayados’ 1-0 victory leaves them level on points with Group 1 frontrunners Santos Laguna.
Headline grabber: The scorers of only four goals in their opening six games, Queretaro put their finishing problems behind with a 5-2 romp at home to Santos Laguna, reviving their hopes of a play-off place.
There seems to be no stopping Shandong Luneng’s march to the Chinese Super League title, with Lu Zheng’s late goal securing them a 3-2 win away to reigning champions Beijing Guo’an. With only eight games remaining, Shandong are now nine points clear of Shanghai Shenhua, who suffered a 1-0 reverse at Liaoning Whowin.
Santa Fe, who lead the way in Colombia’s Copa Mustang II, played out a goalless draw away to long-time rivals Millonarios and had their advantage at the top cut to three points by Tolima, comfortable 3-0 winners against Huila, who drop to third on goal difference. In the weekend’s other big games Nacional beat Santa Fe 1-0 and Deportivo took the honours in the Cali derby, edging out America 2-1.
Adelaide United moved three points clear in the Australian A-League thanks to their 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory’s shock 1-0 loss at home to the previously winless Gold Coast United. Central Coast Mariners pulled level on points with the Glory courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Melbourne Heart.