A selection of sides picked up the scent of glory following
important victories over the weekend. The top two strode clear in
Argentina, first-leg leads were established in the Brazilian state
championship finals, while eight of the ten play-off places had
been claimed by the close of the penultimate round in Mexico.
With the front four going into the weekend clashing in China PR, unexpected twists in the race for gold in Singapore, and crucial fixtures in Colombia and Uruguay, FIFA.com takes stock of the results' ramifications.
Argentinian Clausura: Front two stay on course
Estudiantes and River Plate moved three points clear at the summit after stirring second-half performances. Los Pincharratas netted the majority of four goals inside 15 minutes to beat Rosario Central 3-1, while Diego Simeone's half-time team-talk helped transform a stalemate into a 4-2 victory for River at home to Argentinos Juniors.
It was an early goal that settled the clash between title aspirants San Lorenzo and Boca Juniors, though, Juan Carlos Menseguez's third-minute effort moving El Ciclón above their opponents into third, three points shy of the front pair.
Big game: Losing 2-0 to Lanus after 12 minutes, an
injury-time Pablo Lima effort completed a 3-2 comeback win for
Velez Sarsfield to keep them six points off the pace.
Headline-grabber: A Jeronimo Barrales double thrust Banfield to a 4-3 defeat of Huracan.
Brazilian State Championships: Raposa run riot
Adilson Batista urged his Cruzeiro charges to put one hand on the Mineiro State Championship trophy ahead of their trip to Boca Juniors on Wednesday. They exceeded his expectations, however, effectively placing both hands on the prize after sinking arch-rivals Atletico Mineiro 5-0 in the first leg of their final.
Flamengo will take a lead into the Carioca decider's return leg with Botafogo, substitute Obina scoring the only goal ten minutes from time at the Maracana.
Big game: Palmeiras and Juventude moved into the
driving seat for regional glory after respective 1-0 victories over
Ponte Preta and Internacional.
Headline-grabber: Keirisson was a constant thorn in Atletico Paranaense's side, and his well-taken goal sealed a 2-0 win for Coritiba in the opening leg of their Paranaense State Championship final.
Mexican Clausura: Play-off places secured
Toluca cruised into the play-offs with a 3-0 reverse of Tecos, and Jaguares also sealed progression from Group A with a 1-0 success at Pachuca in the penultimate round. Santos Laguna won 2-1 at Tigres to bank a first-placed finish in Group B, and a Humberto Suazo brace inspired Monterrey to a 3-2 victory at Atlante that guaranteed them a quarter-final place. The result also ended the reigning Apertura champions' qualification chances.
Necaxa will also line-up in the play-offs after a beating America 2-0.
Big game: Pumas kept alive their play-off hopes
with a 4-2 away victory, condeming their hosts Veracruz to
relegarion in the process.
Headline-grabber: Omar Bravo hit his 100th top-flight goal - his ninth of the campaign - to help Guadalajara to a 4-0 win over Puebla which kept them in the driving seat to finish with the regular season's best record.
Chinese Super League: Shaanxi assume pole
Shaanxi Baorong lead the standings after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Beijing Guoan, but the Xi'an outfit have little breathing space at the top. Chengdu Blades trailed 1-0 to Shanghai Shenhua at the break, but Brazilian forward Danielson equalised before his team-mate and compatriot Rodrigues hit a last-gasp winner to take his side level on points with their Matchday 5 opponents, one shy of the early pacesetters.
Shandong Luneng beat Dalian Shide, the team they succeeded as champions in 2006, 2-0 to move three points off the summit with a game in hand.
Big game: Wuhan Guanggu picked up their first points of the season, a 74th-minute Pablo Munhoz goal sinking struggling holders Changchun Yatai.
Headline-grabbers: Eber Luis scored twice as Tianjin Teda won 3-1 at Changsha Ginde to climb to fourth, while Emmanuel Olisadebe posted the only goal as Henan Jianye edged Zhejiang Lucheng to rise to seventh.
Singaporean S-League: Upsets keep the Reds smiling
Super Reds will have the chance to go five points clear at the head when they host Dalian Shide tonight after their two closest rivals unexpectedly stumbled. Singapore Armed Forces thought they had snatched victory - and pole position on goal difference - when veteran midfielder Therdsak Chaiman put them 2-1 up in the 89th minute, but substitute Jalal banked Gombak United a point with virtually the last kick of the game.
Late drama also unfolded in Bishan, with Farhan Musbah's late winner securing a Balestier Khalsa a huge upset victory over local rivals Home United.
Big game: Geyland United beat Sengkang Punggol 2-0 to jump to go fifth and leave their adversaries bottom.
Headline-grabber: Razif Yahya made two crucial second-half saves as Balestier pocketed their first victory of the campaign at Home United, who missed the chance to go top.
In Uruguay, Liverpool held leaders Nacional to a 1-1 draw, allowing River Plate - 2-0 winners over Bella Vista on Matchday 11 of 15 - to go level on points at the top. Penarol rest three points back in third following a 3-0 reverse of Cerro.
Santa Fe beat Millonarios 2-0 in El Clásico Capitalino to consolidate their position atop of the regular season standings in Colombia, and leave their rivals two points outside the play-off places with just three rounds remaining.