With international matches taking place all across the globe, there was a truncated league programme in the Americas at the weekend, which did not prevent some eye-catching results in Brazil and Argentina. FIFA.com has the details on those upsets as well as the latest developments in Mexico, the USA and elsewhere.
Argentina: Reputations count for nothing
Goals were few and far between in Argentina on Matchday 5, with only 13 scored in ten games. Newly promoted Atletico Rafaela struck one of them to see off Union de Santa Fe and maintain their surprise lead at the top.
With no Superclásicos taking place this season, Boca Juniors’ meetings with their other Buenos Aires rivals take on even greater importance. Los Xeneizes were indebted a goal from their 38-year-old centre-half Rolando Schiavi as they won 1-0 at cross-town foes Independiente, who are in some difficulty after amassing only four points to date.
Undefeated in 15 matches now, Boca were the only big name to win at the weekend and now lie joint second with Lanus, who beat Estudiantes 2-1 to extend Pincha coach Miguel Angel Russo’s winless start and leave his side floundering on a meagre two points. Reigning champions Velez Sarsfield are also some way off the pace after losing 2-1 to Olimpo.
Brazil: Black Sunday for title chasers
Championship candidates Corinthians, Vasco de Gama and Flamingo all had a Sunday to forget, losing games they would have expected to win. O Timão remain on top despite falling 1-0 to Coritiba, their third defeat in four games, while Vasco fared even worse against bottom side America MG, crashing to a humiliating 4-1 loss.
Hampered by the absence of Ronaldinho, who is away on international duty with A Selecão, Flamengo had their winless run extended to six games when they went down 3-1 at home to Bahia, a result that took the victors out of the relegation zone.
Taking full advantage were Sao Paulo, who overcame the absence of no fewer than 12 players to beat Figueirense 2-1 at home, Rivaldo scoring the winner in typically stylish fashion. Fourth-placed Botafogo lie three points off the top with a game in hand, while defending champions Fluminense clawed back some ground on the leaders after staging a remarkable recovery against Atletico-GO. Trailing 2-0 with eight minutes remaining, Flu conjured up three late goals to snatch victory and move to within nine points of Corinthians.
Mexico: Chivas cash in
In the most important of the three games played in Mexico, a Hector Reynoso header gave a 100 per cent-homegrown Guadalajara a narrow win over Club Tijuana, which took them above Cruz Azul to the top of the table. Jaguares climbed up to sixth after edging out Santos Laguna 3-2, and Monarcas Morelia pulled away from the bottom of the table after winning by the same scoreline at Real San Luis.
USA: Wild card battle intensifies
In the only game in the MLS, Real Salt Lake overcame Philadelphia Union 2-1 at the Rio Tinto Stadium to dislodge Colorado Rapids from fourth place in the Western Conference and boost their wild card hopes. Real’s goals came from Kyle Beckerman and Chris Schuler in the opening 26 minutes, with Sebastien Le Toux replying for the Union.
The Paraguay Superclásico between Olimpia and Cerro Porteno ended in a 1-1 draw, a result that left Olimpia at the top of the table on 13 points, two clear of their arch Asuncion rivals.
Over in Chile, the cup semi-final line-up was decided, though there was also some championship activity taking place, with Universidad de Chile romping home 4-1 at Nublense to make it six wins out of six and stretch their unbeaten run to 19 games. In the only other league match, Colo Colo jumped up to second after an Esteban Paredes brace helped them to victory over Cobresal. Paredes is now the leading scorer in the league this season.
Three teams share the lead in Uruguay with four games gone: River Plate, Penarol and Danubio, who dropped their first points of the campaign in a 0-0 draw with Rampla Juniors. Having retired from the game after helping Nacional to the league title only two months ago, former Argentina midfielder Marcelo Gallardo recorded the first victory of his coaching career, steering his beloved Bolso to success over Racing. Trailing 1-0 and a man down after half an hour, Nacional roused themselves to win 3-2 and end a run of three straight draws.