Argentinian champions Estudiantes began their title defence with a win, while Tigres stayed ahead of the field in Mexico and the big guns struggled to impose themselves in Brazil’s state championships. FIFA.com has the details on all those stories in its weekly Latin American league round-up and also catches up on the latest news from Chile, Paraguay and Honduras.
Mexican Clausura: Tigres pounce, Toluca hit five
Tigres lead the way in the overall standings in Mexico after easing to a 2-0 win over Cruz Azul, their second victory in a row. Toluca jumped into second place, just one point behind them, after putting five goals past Queretaro without reply, a result that moved them ahead of Pumas UNAM on goal difference.
Big game: Leaders at the start of the day, Pumas had slipped to third by the end of it, though they will not be overly disappointed to have come away with a point from their home meeting with Guadalajara on Sunday. Francisco Palencia missed a first-half penalty for Chivas, with Xavier Baez then giving them the lead with 13 minutes remaining. Javier Granados replied almost immediately for Los Universitarios to give them a share of the spoils.
Headline-grabbers: Held in their previous two home games, Monarcas Morelia gave their fans something to cheer about with an emphatic 4-1 defeat of Estudiantes, Argentinian centre-half Mauricio Romero chipping in with two of the goals.
Argentinian Clausura: Business as usual for Estudiantes
Eduardo Berizzo made the best possible start to his new career as Estudiantes coach as the reigning champions kicked off their championship defence with a 2-1 defeat of Newell’s Old Boys. El Pincha were one of five teams to begin the season with wins, with Monday’s games between Lanus and Arsenal, and Huracan and Argentinos Juniors completing an extended opening matchday.
Big game: Despite a debut goal from midfielder Walter Erviti and the return of Juan Riquelme, Julio Falconi had a debut to forget in the Boca Juniors hotseat. Trailing 2-0 at home to Godoy Cruz at half-time, Los Xeneizes eventually went down 4-1.
Headline-grabbers: Now 38, veteran striker Esteban Fuertes showed his goalscoring powers remain intact by striking two deadly free-kicks to give Colon three points against Quilmes.
Brazilian state championships: Favourites made to sweat
Some of the country’s biggest clubs had to work hard for their points in the weekend’s state championship matches. Guanabara Cup contenders Fluminense and Flamengo edged to respective 1-0 victories against Resende and Madureira, while Botafogo could only draw 1-1 with Macae. Despite their problems, all three sides made it through to the semi-finals of the Rio de Janeiro competition, where Fla will take on Bota and Flu will meet Boavista. Over in the Gaucho championship Internacional’s new Argentinian front man Fernando Cavenaghi looked on as Leandro Damiao hit a hat-trick in their 3-2 victory over Pelotas, which secured Inter a place in the quarter-finals.
Big game: The Mineiro clássico between Atletico and Cruzeiro usually serves up plenty of goals and this weekend’s meeting was no exception. For the second time running Atletico prevailed 4-3 to hit the top in the Minas Gerais championship with maximum points from three games. Three of O Galo’s goals came from striker Diego Tardelli.
Headline-grabbers: Though out of the running in the Guanabara Cup, Vasco da Gama consoled themselves with a 9-0 thrashing of America, the first time they have hit nine since humbling Tuna Luso-PA in 1984.
In the Chilean Apertura, Diego Cagna resigned as Colo Colo coach after watching his side slump 5-1 at home to Universidad de Concepcion. Bottom of the table with one point from three games, El Cacique have seemingly yet to recover from losing the 2010 title to Universidad Catolica on the last day of the season.
Fellow South American powerhouses Olimpia are having no such problems. El Decano are flying high in the Paraguayan Apertura with nine points from their first three games, their latest win coming against General Caballero. Pablo Zeballos scored two of Olimpia’s goals to move to the top of the scoring charts with four. The only other side in the land with a 100 per cent record are Libertad, who tuned up for their Copa Libertadores match against San Luis with a 2-1 home win over Sportivo Luqueno last Thursday.
Finally, in the Honduran Clausura Jerry Bengston struck either side of half-time to give Motagua the points in the top-of-the-table meeting with his former club Vida. Motagua are now two points clear of Los Cocoteros, with Hispano third on 11 points following their 1-1 draw with title holders Real Espana, who are currently in last place.