The moment of truth

While there is still a long, long way to go in Argentina, where the Clausura has only just begun, this could prove to be a decisive weekend in Mexico, New Zealand, Egypt and United Arab Emirates, not to mention Brazil's various state competitions. previews the permutations ahead of another exciting weekend in some of the world's major leagues.

Mexican Clausura: Something for everyone
With six games gone in Mexico, only two sides remain unbeaten. One of them is Group 1 leaders Pachuca, who face a high-risk assignment at home to Indios Juarez. One point behind in second, Monterrey have a taxing mission of their own away to Santos Laguna, who should not be taken lightly despite lying bottom of the section. Also featuring high on the weekend card are America's trip to Tigres and Cruz Azul's visit to Necaxa.

Big game: The other half of the unbeaten duo are Toluca, who lead the way in Group 3 and entertain Group 2 pacesetters Tecos. Los Diablos Rojos will need to be on their guard against a side capable of anything: in their six games so far Tecos have won three and lost three.
Players to watch: Humberto Suazo, Monterrey's Chilean striker, has hit the target in each of his four appearances to date and is the country's second highest scorer this season with five goals. Can Santos Laguna find a way to stop him?

Argentinian Clausura: Surprise leaders aiming big
Having surprised almost everyone by taking to the top of the table, the leading trio face contrasting challenges. Boosted by their win at the Bombonera, Newell's Old Boys will be full of confidence for the visit of lowly Gimnasia de Jujuy. Second and third going into the weekend, Huracan and Arsenal can expect much stiffer tests of their title credentials. While Huracan host Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, Arsenal take a testing trip to Godoy Cruz. Perhaps the biggest meeting of the day is the clash between Lanus and Boca Juniors, two sides figuring prominently in recent title races.

Big game: Languishing at the wrong end of the table, Independiente and Racing Club have more than just local pride to play for when they meet in the latest Avellaneda derby. The question is, which of the two strugglers will shake off their recent poor form and claim a welcome win?
Players to watch: At the relatively advanced age of 25, Diego Armani's time finally seems to have finally come. The Newell's striker, who started his career in Rosario's provincial leagues, has scored two goals in his side's opening two games and will be out to extend that run when La Lepra visit Gimnasia de Jujuy.

New Zealand Football Championship: Race to the last four
With two matchdays left in the regular season, only Waitakere United are sure of a place in the semi-finals of the finals series play-offs. Five of the other seven teams in the league are in contention for the remaining berths, all of which means that the duel between fourth-placed Hawkes Bay United and Waikato FC, the team just below them, should be vital to deciding the play-off line-up. Team Wellington, who lie sixth, need the points from their clash with the already eliminated Canterbury United to stay in the hunt.

Big game: Attracting all the attention this weekend will be the clash that pits second against third, as Auckland City travel to YoungHeart Manawatu. The prize for the victors is a place in the last four, and if their 3-0 defeat to Auckland two weeks ago is anything to go by, the hosts look to have their work cut out.
Players to watch: Back at Manawatu after training with the national team, Jason Hayne could be key to their hopes. The striker, now 32, has hit eight goals in ten outings so far.

Brazilian State Championships: Semi-finals beckon
Taking centre stage in Brazil are the quarter-finals of the Taca Fernando Carvalho, the first stage of the Gaucho State Championship. Top of the bill is Gremio's home match with Juventude at the Estadio Olimpico de Porto Alegre, while Internacional, the region's other major force, entertain Ulbra. The weekend's two other ties are Ypiranga-Novo Hamburgo and Veranopolis-Santa Cruz.

Big game: Paulista Championship leaders Palmeiras defend their comfortable cushion and unbeaten record when they travel to Portuguesa, who stand fourth despite only scoring nine goals to date.
Players to watch: Top scorer in the first phase with six goals, Bruno Meneghel has helped Resende reach the semi-finals of Rio de Janeiro's Taca Guanabara. Can the 21-year-old add the mighty Flamengo to his list of victims?

After an 18-day lay-off there is only one match that matters in the Egyptian League this weekend: the visit of leaders Al Ahly to Petrojet, five points behind them in second and having played a game more. Should the Cairo giants make off with the three points, they will go a long way to securing their fifth title in a row and the 34th in their history. Sunday's other enticing encounter sees eight play third as Ghazl Al-Mehalla take on ENPPI.

With the battle for the UAE League crown having reached the halfway mark, only three teams remain in the running: leaders Al Jazira, and the chasing Al Ain and Al Ahli, both two points adrift. Al Ahli would appear to have the toughest task of the top trio in Sunday's games. They visit fourth-placed Ajman, while Al Jazira and Al Ain will be expected to dispose of struggling Khaleej and Dhafra respectively.