After breaking off for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, business has resumed in biggest leagues outside Europe, with the weekend producing plenty of talking points. Providing the pick of the action were a clutch of derbies in Brazil, Thierry Henry’s big bow in the MLS, and a late draw for reigning Mexican champions Toluca.
Brasileirao: Stalemates in Rio and Porto Alegre
Flamengo and Vasco da Gama played out a goalless draw in front of 60,000 fans at the Maracana, while fierce rivals Internacional and Gremio did just the same in Porto Alegre. Elsewhere, Fluminense downed Atletico Paranaense 3-1 to take first place on 26 points.
Big game: Cruzeiro took the honours in the Minas Gerais derby, beating Atletico Mineiro through a solitary Wellington Paulista goal to stay sixth in the table and keep their opponents in 19th place. Struggling Atletico have the most porous defence in the league, having now conceded 22 goals.
Headline grabber: In the weekend’s fourth big derby, Sao Paulo foes Corinthians and Palmeiras, now led by former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, played out a 1-1 draw. Leaders at the start of the day, O Timão dropped down to second, one point behind Fluminense.
Major League Soccer: Chivas check Crew charge
Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew slumped to a surprise 3-1 loss to Chivas USA, who have now gone four games without defeat. Despite having a day to forget, the Crew stay top on 34 points, well clear of the chasing New York Red Bulls.
Big game: Thierry Henry’s eagerly anticipated debut for the Big Apple side did not quite go according to plan. The French star had several chances to open his account away to Houston Dynamo but was upstaged by Colombian team-mate Juan Pablo Angel, who scored both the Red Bulls' goals in a 2-2 draw.
Headline grabber: USA international Landon Donovan converted two penalties for Los Angeles Galaxy against Chicago Fire to take his MLS goal tally to 101. His spot-kick brace was still not enough to prevent the Galaxy from falling to a 3-2 defeat, their first home reverse of the season and their second loss of the week. Despite their mini slump, Donovan and Co continue to head the Western Conference.
Mexican Apertura: Toluca leave it late
Defending champions Toluca were indebted to a late Diego Novaretti goal as they scraped a 1-1 draw with Pachuca, who had taken the lead through Carlos Rodriguez. Elsewhere, Tigres beat Necaxa 2-0, Queretaro and Puebla earned respective 2-1 wins over Atlas and San Luis, Monterrey downed Estudiantes 3-2, and Cruz Azul saw off Atlante 2-0.
Big game: Defeated in their opening game of the season, America hit back hard against Jaguares, scoring three goals without reply. The men on target for Las Águilas were Matias Vuoso, Vicente Sanchez and Enrique Esqueda.
Headline grabber: Santos Laguna enjoyed an emphatic 4-0 win over Pumas, victors over Toluca only a week ago, and are now joint top of the league standings with Cruz Azul.
Chinese Super League: Lead changes hands again
Shanghai Shenhua bounced back from last Wednesday’s reverse at the hands of Shandong Luneng, overcoming relegation-threatened Changsha Ginde 2-1. That win took the Shanghai outfit back to the top of the table on 30 points.
Big game: Three-time Super League champs Shandong Luneng relinquished first place after going down 2-1 at Hangzhou Greentown, who are now third, just four points behind the leaders.
Headline grabber: Nanchang Bayi’s season went from bad to worse when they lost 1-0 at home to Beijing Guo’an, a result that keeps them bottom of the table. Beijing are now fourth, behind Hangzhou on goal difference.
Stade Tunisien made it two wins out of two in the Tunisian Ligue 1, beating Kairouan 2-1 to lead the way on six points. Zarzis beat Gafsa 3-0 to move second, while Etoile Sahel climbed to third after disposing of Hammam Lif 2-0.
Kashima Antlers held on to their lead in the Japanese J-League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Vissel Kobe, Takuya Nozawa hitting a brace and Brazilian forward Marquinhos scoring the other. There were goals aplenty in the meeting between Shimizu S-Pulse and lowly Shonan Bellmare. Norwegian striker Frode Johnsen claimed a hat-trick in Shimizu’s 6-3 victory, which took them up to second.