brings you the pick of the action from outside Europe on a weekend in which the USA crowned new champions, a familiar name made all but sure of the title in Brazil, and twists unfolded in Argentina, Japan and Mexico.

Argentinian Apertura: Boca stay strong
The title race took another twist at the weekend, with Boca Juniors hitting the front once more thanks to 2-1 win at San Martin and slip-ups by fellow contenders Tigre and San Lorenzo. In a sub-par display on Sunday, goals from Lucas Viatri and Luciano Figueroa were enough to send Los Xeneizes two points clear with just three games remaining.

Big match: Although San Lorenzo's surprise 3-1 loss at home to Lanus opened the door for Tigre, the Nuevo Leon side failed to take advantage, succumbing to Estudiantes in La Plata by the same score. It rounded off a good week for Los Pincharratas, who, despite their midweek exertions in qualifying for the final of Copa Sudamericana, saw off Diego Cagna's men with goals from Juan Sebastian Veron, Ivan Moreno y Fabianesi and Leandro Benitez.
Headline-grabber: River Plate's return to winning ways last week under new coach Gabriel Rodriguez proved short-lived, as Los Millonarios went down 2-1 to Argentinos Juniors to remain rooted to the foot of the table.

Brasileirao: Sao Paulo favourites to defend crown
Sao Paulo were the big winners this weekend. With their rivals losing valuable ground, O Tricolor Paulista took a huge step towards their third straight title after goals from Jorge Wagner and Hugo earned them a 2-1 win over Vasco da Gama. 

Big match: Runners-up Gremio waved all but goodbye to their title aspirations after a surprise 4-2 defeat by Vitoria left them trailing Sao Paulo by five points with only two matchdays remaining.
Headline-grabber: The eagerly awaited duel between Cruzeiro and Flamengo went the way of A Raposa, for whom Fernandinho, Thiago Ribeiro and Ramires were on the scoresheet in a 3-2 win. However, with the leaders also winning, both sides' slim title chances disappeared.

American Major League Soccer: Maiden title for Columbus Crew
Displaying the kind of form that helped them dominate the Eastern Conference during the regular season, Columbus Crew secured their first MLS Cup crown on Sunday with a 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls.

Big match: Venezuelan striker Alejandro Moreno put the Ohio side ahead on the half-hour, a lead they kept until five minutes after the break when John Wolyniec levelled for the Red Bulls. Sigi Schmid's side responded immediately and were back in front two minutes later through Chad Marshall, leaving Frankie Hejduk to seal victory and confirm Colombus Crew as champions.
Headline-grabber: In his two seasons in the MLS, playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto has become one of the league's outstanding figures. In yesterday's final, the Argentinian showed why he was voted 2008 Most Valuable Player by providing the assists for all three of Columbus's goals, a feat that also saw him pick up the MVP award in the final.

Mexican Apertura: Only Santos take advantage
In the first legs of the Liguilla quarter-finals, Clausura 2008 champions Santos Laguna were the only side to win, downing regular-season leaders San Luis 3-1.

Big match: Los Guerreros may have been inconsistent during the regular season, but they are showing genuine title aspirations now that the knockout phase has arrived. Recent signing Cuauhtemoc Blanco proved his value in a first-leg victory secured by strikes from Daniel Luduena and Vicente Matias Vuoso, and an Oscar Mascorro own-goal.
Headline-grabber: In the other quarter-finals, Atlante managed a valuable 1-1 draw away to Tigres, while it finished scoreless in the Pumas-Cruz Azul and Toluca-Tecos first-leg ties.

With just two rounds remaining in the Japanese J.League, Kashima Antlers closed in on their second straight title after defeating Oita Trinita 1-0 and seeing direct rivals Urawa Red Diamonds slump to fourth, courtesy of a 2-1 reverse by Shimizu S-Pulse. Nagoya Grampus Eight climbed to second, two points behind the leaders.

Finally to Nigeria, where joint-leaders Bayelsa United and Heartland Owerri both posted wins and are a point clear of third-placed Warri Wolves. Defending champions Kano Pillars continued their fine form, and remain just three points off the pace.