The title pictures in Argentina, Uruguay, the USA, Vietnam and South Africa were given different complexions over the weekend. With the national championship commencing in Brazil and two sides completing the quarter-final line-up in Mexico, FIFA.com reflects on latest developments.
Argentinian Clausura: Duo run clear
River Plate and Estudiantes drove three points clear of the chasing pack on a weekend when the title aspirations of San Lorenzo and Boca Juniors suffered. Ezequiel Maggiolo's 75th-minute header proved the difference between Los Pincharratas and the Copa Libertadores holders, and River joined them on 30 points thanks to a 4-2 defeat of Gimnasia La Plata, who led twice in Buenos Aires.
Independiente won 1-0 at San Lorenzo on Claudio Borghi's debut at the reins, staying four points off the pace - and moving to within one of their victims - in the process.
Big game: Velez Sarsfield beat Rosario Central 2-1
at home to climb to third, three points behind the top two.
Headline-grabber: Ruben Ramirez scored two equalisers to earn Colon a 2-2 draw at Gimnasia Jujuy that left their opponents bottom of the standings and took his figures to seven goals in five games.
Brasileiro: Libertadores survivors stumble
Botafogo, Coritiba, Cruzeiro, Nautico, Atletico Paranense, Gremio, Internacional and Flamengo seized three points from the opening matchday, and it is the latter who hold the distinction of heading the standings following a 3-1 win over Santos, who fielded a depleted side ahead of midweek showdown with America.
Sao Paulo and Fluminense, who will meet in the first leg of
their Copa Libertadores quarter-final on Wednesday, also fielded
weakened teams and duly dropped points.
O Tricolor Paulista lost 1-0 at home to Gremio, while
O Fluzão finished up goalless at Atletico Mineiro.
Big game: Ipatinga lost 1-0 at home to Atletico Paranaense on their Serie A debut.
Headliner-grabber: At a three-goal deficit on the hour, Felipe Santana completed his brace in injury time to steal Figueirense a 5-5 at newly-promoted Portuguesa.
American MLS: Dynamo pocket first win
Houston Dynamo stars Brian Ching and Dwayne De Rosario were on the score-sheet for the first time this term, the latter's 87th-minute penalty completing a 2-1 reverse of Colorado Rapids for the defending champions' maiden win.
The Rapids did, nonetheless, remain top of the Western Conference due to FC Dallas' 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles Galaxy's home defeat by New York Red Bulls, which owed to Juan Pablo Angel's 78th-minute winner.
Big game: Taylor Twellman posted the all-important
third goal as New England Revolution edged Chivas USA to move third
in the Eatsern Conference.
Headline-grabber: A late double from Robbie Rogers helped Columbus Crew to a 3-2 victory over San Jose Earthquakes that lifted them to the Western Conference summit above Chicago Fire.
Vietnamese V-League: Leaders' slip goes unpunished
Hai Phong were held at home by Khanh Hoa, but they remain in pole position after a slip-ups from their rivals. Cang Saigon missed the chance to assume leadership of the division on goal difference by drawing 1-1 with visiting Binh Duong, while Long An lost 3-2 at Da Nang to drop to sixth, three points off the pace.
Song Lam Nghe An took advantage of their rivals' slip-ups, a last-minute goal by Truong Dac Khanh snatching them a 1-0 win over Thanh Hoa which elevated them to second.
Big game: Hoang Anh Gia Lai won 3-0 at ACB Ha Noi to join Song Lam Nghe An, The Cong and Cang Saigon on 25 points, two shy of Hai Phong.
Headline-grabber: Almeida extended his rich vein of form with a double to power Da Nang clear of danger.
South African Premier Soccer League: United storm into driving seat
Supersport United will head into the remaining two rounds in control of their own destiny after winning their game in hand over Ajax Cape Town in sensational fashion. Katlego Mashego scored four times in the last half-hour as United twice came from behind to beat Moroka Swallows 4-2. The result moved Gavin Hunt's side one point above Ajax.
Elsewhere, the title challenge of Santos was effectively ended by struggling Benoni Premier United, who held their visitors to a 1-1 draw that left them six points behind the leaders.
Big game: Kaizer Chiefs seized the Soweto derby bragging rights by defeating Orlando Pirates in front of a near-capacity crowd, Shaun Bartlett teeing up David Mathebula to slide home the only goal against the team he served as a youth.
Headline-grabber: A goal at the start of each half from Petrus Mahlatsi thrust Bloemfontein Celtic to a 2-0 win over Bidvest Wits University.
Penarol and River Plate will enter the penultimate matchday of the Uruguayan Clausura level on points at the summit after an enthralling, goal-frenzied round. An 11th-hour Henry Gimenez goal snatched River a 2-1 victory at Fenix, before Mario Saralegui's side beat Nacional 4-2 to leave their arch-rivals three points off the pace. Ruben Olivera completed the scoring on 46 minutes with his second of the contest, but there was plently of drama thereafter with three Nacional players sent off.
Meantime, Liverpool won 5-1 at Cerro, Defensor overcame Miramar Misiones 5-3, and Progreso's Mathias Riquero hit a hat-trick but ended up on the losing team as two last-gasp strikes earned Rampla Juniors a 4-3 success.
Real San Luis and Necaxa edged through to the Clausura quarter-finals in Mexico at the expense of Pachuca and Atlas respectively.