It was a weekend of high drama, many goals and grey power in the world's leagues. Two prolific veterans scored braces in Brazil, another grabbed the opener in the USA's most anticipated match, and yet another made the headlines in Australia. Nevertheless, the younger players had their moments too, not least in Japan. FIFA.com reviews a weekend where the old and the young shared the glory.
Brasileiro: Gremio maintain buffer
Gremio defender Rever, with an injury-time strike, gave his side an away point at Nautico that was enough for the Tricolor to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Brasileiro. Cruzeiro lost their second game running to fall further adrift of the leaders, but Palmeiras bounced back well from their midweek thrashing at the hands of Internacional to hand out a thumping of their own at home to Portuguesa, in a paulista derby.
Big game: It was Santos who got what they wanted from the crucial encounter at the Vila Belmiro. Two goals from well-travelled striker Kleber Pereira were enough to avenge Cruzeiro's 4-0 win over the Peixe earlier in the season.
Headline-grabber: Kleber's two goals against Cruzeiro took him to 14 goals for the season, but he wasn't the only one moving up the striker's chart: another veteran, Palmeiras' Alex Mineiro, also scored a brace in his side's first-half blitz against Portuguesa, as he keeps pace with Kleber at the top.
Japanese J-League: Urawa take over
All change at the top in Japan, as Kashima Antlers were stunned at home by Dragan Stojkovic's Nagoya Grampus Eight. Although Antlers went ahead in only the third minute with another goal from Marquinhos, Nagoya were level soon after, and former Rosenborg star Frode Johnsen sealed the points for the away side on the hour. The win was not enough to send Nagoya top, however, with Asian champions Urawa Red Diamonds seeing off Jubilo Iwata 3-1 at home to snatch the lead. Antlers now have to be content with a share of third place with Oita Trinita, who needed a late goal to see off Omiya Ardija at home.
Big game: A second-half goal from Takanobu Komiyama increased bottom-placed Consadole Sapporo's misery, and eased the relegation fears of Yokohama F Marinos in the J-League's basement battle.
Headline-grabber: On his return from the Olympics, Shimizu S-Pulse striker Shinji Okazaki hit the ground running, scoring in the first minute of S-Pulse's home game against Kashiwa. To prove it wasn't a fluke, he scored the winner in the second half as well, as the Shizuoka side moved further away from the relegation zone.
Major League Soccer: Bulls on the charge
In the meeting of MLS's two form sides, the New York Red Bulls produced a stunning performance to down Western Conference leaders Houston Dynamo 3-0 at home. Juan Pablo Angel was again the star for the New Yorkers, scoring the opener in the ninth minute, and the hosts dominated thereafter. For their part, Dynamo were badly affected by the absence of top scorer Brian Ching, exhausted after his efforts in the USA's midweek FIFA World Cup™ qualifier.
Big game: Prolific New England striker Taylor Twellman headed his side into a first-half lead in the cross-border clash with Toronto FC, but the Canadians equalized in the second half through Chad Barrett to keep their semi-finals hopes alive.
Headline-grabber: Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad was transformed into a striker against FC Dallas in the final minutes, as the hosts searched desperately for an equaliser after their opponents had been reduced to ten men. And Conrad emerged as the hero of the hour, knocking home Josh Wolff's cross in the final minute.
Australian A-League: Goals galore
Nineteen goals in four games made for an A-League round full of excitement. No team was left with a perfect record after two games, but it is Melbourne, 4-2 away victors over Wellington Phoenix, who head the table on goal difference from Sydney FC and Adelaide United. The latter could not build on their opening win, as their 1-0 half-time lead over the Queensland Roar was cancelled out by Scottish midfielder Charlie Miller in the second period.
Big game: Last time, it was nine goals: this time, the crowd at the always lively Central Coast Mariners-Sydney FC game had to be content with five. With the score 2-2 ten minutes from the close, new boy Shannon Cole gave ten-man Sydney all three points with a stunning free kick from just outside the area. Earlier, 35-year-old Steve Corica had turned back the clock with an impressive brace.
Headline-grabber: FIFA.com suggested that Nikita Rukavytsya might be one to watch this weekend, and it looked like being a shrewd call when 'Niki' gave Perth Glory a 3-2 lead over visitors Newcastle in the 81st minute. But it was Rukavytsya's Olympic colleague Jade North who stole the show, stabbing home an equaliser in the fifth minute of injury time to rescue a point for the champions.
Colon Santa Fe and Tigre are the two surprise leaders in Argentina after this weekend's action, but waiting in the wings are Boca Juniors, with two wins out of two and a game in hand. Los Xeneizes, however, will have to do without Martin Palermo for the rest of the Apertura season, after the striker suffered a serious injury in Boca's win over Lanus. The most impressive performers on the weekend were San Lorenzo, who trounced fancied Estudiantes 3-0 at the Estadio Pedro Bidegain.
Fierce Montevideo rivals Nacional and Penarol both won on the road in the first round of the Uruguayan Apertura, the former taking advantage of two Juventud dismissals. Another side to finish with nine men was Bella Vista, who slumped to a 3-0 opening-day defeat at Tacuarembo. Only ten goals were scored in eight games, and the fans will certainly be hoping for better next weekend.