The chasing packs in Argentina, USA, South Africa and Japan all had profitable weekends, while the leaders in Brazil, Chile and Mexico consolidated their positions. reflects on the latest action outside Europe.

Brasilerao: Palmeiras march on
An impressive Palmeiras side maintained their five-point lead over defending champions Sao Paulo by coming from behind to win 3-1 at Santos. Undeterred by Luizinho's opener, O Verdão needed only 15 second-half minutes to turn the game around, with Diego Souza, Robert and Vagner Love all getting on the scoresheet.

Atletico Mineiro moved up to third with a 2-1 defeat of Barueri, goals from Diego Tardelli and Carlos Correa moving O Galo into the thick of the title fight.

Big game: Adriano was the star of the latest Fla-Flu derby. The Brazil striker scored both goals in Flamengo's 2-0 win, which keeps them in the hunt for a Copa Libertadores spot and ensures floundering Fluminense remain rooted to the bottom.
Headline-grabbers: Goias and Internacional both had their championship aspirations dented when they fell to respective defeats at home to Botafogo and away to Coritiba. They remain well in contention for the Libertadores places, however.

Argentinian Apertura: Setback for Estudiantes
Pacesetters Estudiantes suffered their first defeat of the season when they went down 1-0 at Argentinos Juniors, who have surged into second place on the back of four straight wins. Matias Caruzzo's solitary goal was enough to give Los Bichitos Colorados victory and take them to within a point of the leaders.

Los Pincharratas remained top thanks to the sides behind them dropping points. Banfield were held to a goalless draw by Colon and are now level on points with Argentinos, while Rosario Central lost ground when they fell 1-0 at Arsenal.

Big game: Boca Juniors gained some much-needed respite with a stirring 3-2 win at home to Velez Sarsfield. A Leandro Caruso double gave La V Azulina the lead on two occasions, but the Boca old guard of Sebastian Battaglia, Juan Riquelme and Martin Palermo turned the game around for the hosts.
Headline-grabber: River Plate's desperate start to the season continued when they slumped to defeat in the clásico against San Lorenzo, their fourth straight reverse. Los Millonarios were leading with six minutes remaining only for El Ciclón to snatch the points in a grandstand finish through goals from Leandro Romagnoli and Bernardo Romeo. River's late collapse prompted coach Nestor Gorosito to tender his resignation.

Mexican Apertura: Chasers take a fall
Leaders Toluca were indebted to Hector Mancilla's late penalty as they salvaged a point at home to San Luis. That late leveller looked even more valuable by the end of the weekend, with all Toluca's closest challengers succumbing to defeats.

Monterrey went down to a Javier Hernandez goal eight minutes from time at Guadalajara, while Monarcas Morelia came away empty handed from their trip Atlante after Rafael Marquez Lugo's early brace ensured a 2-1 win for the home side.

Big game: Pachuca moved back into the leading pack with a welcome 2-1 win at home to in-form America. Christian Gimenez and Juan Carlos Cacho were on target for Los Tuzos, with Salvador Cabanas snatching a late consolation for the visitors.
Headline-grabber: The situation is also getting tight down at the bottom, where Pumas beat Jaguares 2-0 and Queretaro pushed Indios Juarez closer to the drop with a 3-1 home win.

The Japanese J.League is set for an exciting finale after Kashima Antlers, who have led for the whole season, fell to their fourth consecutive defeat to allow Shimizu S-Pulse to pull level with them on points. Kashima still have a game in hand, however.

With a third of the season nearly gone in the South African Premiership, the title race is bubbling up nicely. Orlando Pirates drew 0-0 at Free State Stars and had their lead at the top cut to two points after Bidvest Wits University and Bloemfontein Celtic both won.

The battle for play-off places in American Major League Soccer is becoming fiercer with every passing week. Los Angeles Galaxy pulled level on points with Houston Dynamo at the top of the Western Conference when they downed Chicago Fire 1-0 and the Dynamo were held by Kansas City Wizards. Chivas USA and Seattle Sounders also won and are just three points behind the front two.

Finally in Chile, Colo-Colo recorded a 1-0 win over Universidad de Chile in the Santiago superclásico. The big guns from the capital are still well off the pace, though, with Universidad Catolica cementing their position at the top after a 5-1 defeat of Rangers. Universidad Concepcion also won to remain four points behind in second.