David Beckham won his first MLS crown with LA Galaxy, while Adriano and Alvaro Recoba both scored vital goals on a weekend when the stars shone brightly in the Americas. FIFA.com has all the details in its weekly round-up.
USA: Glory for Galaxy
The triumvirate of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan combined to conjure up the goal that gave Los Angeles Galaxy their third MLS title. There were 18 minutes of Sunday’s MLS Cup final against Houston Dynamo remaining when Beckham flicked a long ball into the path of the Republic of Ireland striker, who put Donovan through on goal with a measured pass. Holding his nerve, the USA international coolly chipped the ball past the advancing Tally Hall and looked on with glee as it nestled gently in the back of the net.
The goal was greeted with relief by a Galaxy side that had dominated proceedings but spurned several chances against a Dynamo line-up weakened by the absence of their midfield organiser Brad Davis. The championship win was Beckham’s first since his much-publicised arrival at the club in 2007, the Englishman having collected a runners-up medal in 2009.
Argentina: Miserly Boca stay on course
Boca Juniors are doing their bit to prove that defences win championships by keeping yet another clean sheet in a goalless draw with nine-man Racing Club, a result that preserved both sides’ unbeaten records and kept Los Xeneizes eight points clear with four games remaining. Boca have now gone 12 matches without conceding a goal and have let in just three in their 15 games this season, a new Argentinian league record.
Racing’s defensive statistics are only slightly less impressive, the men from Avellaneda having conceded just one goal more, thanks in no small part to goalkeeper Sebastian Saja, who was on unbeatable form once again at the Bombonera. In contrast, San Lorenzo find themselves at the wrong end of the table after going down 1-0 to Union, the 12th game in which their rearguard has been breached. A member of Argentina's historic big five, El Ciclón have four games left to save their season and avoid a relegation/promotion play-off game against a second division team.
Brazil: The Emperor strikes back
Corinthians passed another stern examination of their title credentials, coming from behind to see off Atletico-MG 2-1 at the Pacaembu, Adriano proving their saviour with a last-minute winner. Having admitted he is well short of full fitness, O Imperador sent the Timão fans wild with his first goal in over a year to keep the leaders two points ahead of Vasco da Gama, 2-0 winners over Avai, with two games remaining.
Five points back in third lie Fluminense, who kept their fading title hopes alive by inflicting a 4-0 defeat on Figueirense, the latter's first reverse in 14 games. Striker Fred was the star of the show with a hat-trick. The scorer of seven goals in his last two outings, the former Lyon man is now just three behind Borges of Santos, the league’s leading marksman.
Uruguay: Recoba ruins Penarol's day
Nacional took the honours in the Montevideo clásico, coming from a goal down to dispose of Penarol 2-1. Veteran forward Alvaro Recoba sealed the points with a stoppage-time penalty-kick as El Bolso moved joint-top with Danubio, with each sitting on 26 points.
Mexico: Play-offs commence
The only seeded team to win in the quarter-final first-legs of the Mexican championship play-offs were Tigres, who triumphed 1-0 at Pachuca despite having a man sent off. Pachuca now face the tallest of orders against a formidable side who have not lost at home all season and boast a defensive record that is the best in the land.
Regular-season champions Guadalajara lost 2-1 at eighth-placed Queretaro, while Cruz Azul went down by the same scoreline away to Monarcas Morelia. Finally, Santos let slip a 2-0 lead at Jaguares, conceding twice in the last two minutes to leave their tie finely poised.
Libertad were the big winners in Paraguay at the weekend, beating Rubio Nu 2-0 to take the lead on goal difference, and with a game in hand, ahead of Nacional, who lost 3-1 at Independiente. In the big Asuncion derby, meanwhile, Olimpia and Cerro Porteno played out a 1-1 draw, passing up the chance to close the gap on the leaders.
Over in Chile, Universidad de Chile played out a goalless draw with Universidad Catolica in the Clásico Universitario and now hold a ten-point lead over the chasing trio of Audax Italiano, Cobreloa and La Serena.