Brazil, Ecuador, Japan and Korea Republic will crown champions this weekend, while the first leg of the Chilean Clausura final unfolds. With the leadership up for grabs in Argentina and Nigeria, and the Mexican Apertura semi-finals taking place, FIFA.com looks ahead to the action.
Argentinian Apertura: Two horses, three hurdles
Newell’s Old Boys have seized 22 points from a possible 24 to storm to the summit, and the on-song Joaquin Boghossian and Co will be expected to improve that record when mid-table Arsenal pay them a visit in the third-last round. Banfield, one point off the pace and fresh from losing their unbeaten record, will travel to second-bottom Huracan.
San Lorenzo and Independiente will strive to enhance their Copa Libertadores 2010 qualification chances away to Argentinos Juniors and Boca Juniors respectively.
High stakes: Godoy Cruz and Rosario Central will meet in a duel of sides out to ease their relegation fears.
Players to watch: An interesting battle between Argentinos Juniors forward Gabriel Hauche and San Lorenzo keeper Pablo Migliore ensues.
Brasileirao: Quartet in final-day fight for gold
Flamengo, Internacional, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo will enter the final day hoping to end it as champions. O Mengão’s destiny is in their own hands: if Petkovic, Adriano and Co beat Gremio at a bustling Maracana, they will emerge triumphant for the first time since 1992.
If Flamengo fail to seize three points, Internacional will be crowned if they win at home to a Santo Andre side that require victory to have any chance of avoiding the drop. If the top two drop points, Palmeiras or Sao Paulo could seize the throne. The former visit relegation-threatened Botafogo, while the latter, chasing an unprecedented fourth successive title, entertain the already-relegated Sport.
High stakes: Two from four will succumb to relegation alongside Sport and Nautico, and Coritiba’s hosting of Fluminense could have a major say in the outcome. O Fluzão are one point clear of their forthcoming hosts, who are only above fourth-bottom Botafogo on matches won. Third-bottom Santo Andre will only survive if they triumph at Internacional and both O Fogão and Flu win.
Players to watch: Coritiba playmaker Marcelinho Paraiba and Fluminense striker Fred have been among the best players in this year’s competition.
Following a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Ecuadorian Serie A title play-off, Deportivo Quito will entertain Deportivo Cuenca in the decider on Sunday, when Colo-Colo and Universidad Catolica collide in the first 90 minutes of the Chilean Clausura final.
Kashima Antlers will carry a two-point lead over second-placed Kawasaki Frontale into the conclusion of the Japanese J.League, but the former have the more examining final hurdle. Oswaldo de Oliveira’s side travel to sixth-placed Urawa Red Diamonds, while Kawasaki, who have the superior goal difference, visit the already-relegated Kashiwa Reysol.
Jeonbuk Motors will host Seongnam Chunma in the second leg of the Korean K-League play-offs on Sunday, after the two sides played out a goalless draw on Wednesday. The Motors will begin as the favourites, given that they won the regular season, finishing 12 points above their upcoming opponents, boast the competition’s leading marksman in Lee Dong-Gook and will be roared on by their own supporters. However, Seongnam will be buoyed by a 3-1 success in the sides’ last meeting.
Six teams could end Saturday’s Round 9 atop of the Nigerian Premier League. Newly-promoted Kwara United, the surprise pacesetters, are away to an Ocean Boys team just three points behind them as second-placed Warri Wolves visit Gateway, in eighth. Kano Pillars, third but with a game in hand, are not in action until Wednesday. Enyimba and Sunshine Stars, both one point off the pace, will host bottom-half sides Ranchers Bees and Heartland respectively, while sixth-placed Lobi Stars welcome struggling Zamfara United to Makurdi.
The semi-final second-legs in the Mexican Apertura will take place with Monterrey taking a 2-0 lead to Toluca. The other tie is more evenly balanced with Cruz Azul hosting Monarcas after a scoreless first leg.