There were twists and turns aplenty this weekend after another dramatic matchday in the world's leagues. Argentina has no fewer than four teams sharing top spot in their Clausura, while Pachuca continue to make the early running in Mexico. The state championships across Brazil are moving towards their conclusion, and in New Zealand, with just one game remaining in the regular season, the race is on for the final play-off berths. As ever, FIFA.com is on hand to round up an engrossing few days of action outside of Europe.
Argentinian Clausura: Quartet share top spot
Sharing the lead with Arsenal and Huracan coming into the weekend, Newell's Old Boys were the only one of the trio to remain unbeaten, retaining a share of top-spot thanks to a draw with Gimnasia de Jujuy (1-1). Tied with them at the summit on seven points are Godoy Cruz, 1-0 winners over Arsenal, Colon de Santa Fe, who posted a 2-0 home triumph over Rosario Central, and a revitalised River Plate, who enjoyed the same result against Banfield.
On the score sheet for Nestor Gorosito's fast-improving Millonarios were Matias Abelairas and Radamael Falcao, providing a further confidence boost to the side who plumbed new depths last year in finishing bottom of the standings in the Apertura.
Big game: Independiente got a much-needed lift after coming out on top in the Avellaneda derby against Racing Club. Strikes from Lucas Pusineri and Daniel Montenegro consigned La Academia to a 2-0 defeat (their third reverse in as many games), causing the axe to fall on beleaguered coach Juan Manuel Llop. Among the names being touted as possible replacements are those of Diego Simeone and former Albiceleste supremos, Alfio Basile and Jose Pekerman.
Headline grabber: 2008 Apertura champions Boca Juniors continued their shaky start to the season with their second consecutive defeat, this time to Lanus. Striker Eduardo Salvio Clausura grabbed the only goal of the game, leaving Los Xeneizes with just three points from a possible nine.
Brazilian State Championships: Results go to form in Copa Fernando Carvalho
Porto Alegre giants Gremio and Internacional came out on top in their respective quarter-finals ties in the Gaucho Championship. After seeing off Juventude (2-0) and Ulbra (2-1) respectively, the pair now face Veranopolis and Novo Hamburgo in the semi-finals.
The Tricolor strikes came courtesy of Alex Mineiro, while Taison and Tata were on target for the Colorados. In the other half of the draw, modest Veranopolis and Novo Hamburgo kept their dreams of becoming Rio Grande do Sul champions alive with victories over Santa Cruz (2-1) and Ypiranga (3-0) respectively.
Big game: Paulista Championship frontrunners Palmeiras could do no better than a 2-2 draw away to Portuguesa. Despite taking a two-goal lead with a brace from Keirrison, Edno and Christian hit back to earn the Lusa a share of the spoils.
Headline grabber: Championship rivals Corinthians and Sao Paulo took advantage of the Verdao's slip-up to trim the gap at the top to just two points with their respective 3-1 wins over Guaratingueta and Barueri.
Mexican Clausura: Los Tuzos alone out front
Pachuca extended their unbeaten start to the season with a comprehensive 3-0 over Indios de Ciudad Juarez to take the outright lead in the standings. There they replace defending champions Toluca, who dropped two points after missing a late penalty in their 1-1 draw Tecos.
Los Tuzos's win was all the more important given that Monterrey, their immediate pursuers in Group 1, slipped to a 2-0 defeat to struggling Santos Laguna. Fans of Los Rayados were surprised to see star striker Humberto Suazo start on the bench, with the Chilean unable to respond to goals from Fernando Arce and Juan Pablo Santiago.
Big game: Cruz Azul recorded their second victory of the Clausura this weekend with a 4-2 away win over Necaxa. A brace from Luis Angel Landin and one apiece from Christian Riveros and Jaime Lozano heaped more misery on the bottom-placed side and helped La Máquina Cementera move to within a point of top spot in Group 2.
Headline grabber: CF America, one of the country's traditional powerhouses, ended a sequence of five games without a win with a come-from-behind victory over Tigres (3-2). On target for the Aguilas were Paraguay's Salvador Cabanas, local star Angel Reyna and Brazilian Robert de Pinho.
New Zealand Football Championship: Auckland and Manawatu keep fans in suspense
In the race to make the semi-finals of the end-of-season play-offs, Youngheart Manawatu and Auckland City both missed the chance to secure a place in last four after playing out a scoreless draw in Palmerston North.
Big game: Tournament leaders Waitakere United, who had their semi-final berth secured before the weekend's action, showed no signs of letting up after coming from behind to beat Otago United 3-2 with a last-minute strike from Benjamin Totori.
Headline grabber: Team Wellington also had to come from behind to beat Canterbury United (3-1), keeping their hopes of making the semis intact. The capital side will battle it out with the four other sides still in contention in next week's final round of league games.
The eagerly awaited duel between Al Ahly and Petrojet, first and second respectively in the Egyptian Premier League, finished honours even (2-2), keeping the reigning African champions five points clear at the summit. In Uruguay, meanwhile, the Clausura Championship got underway with wins for Carlos Navarro Montoya's Tacuarembo and two of the favourites for honours this season, Defensor Sporting and Penarol.