Decisive duels in Latin America
© AFP

There is no shortage of footballing tension across the globe this week, including high stakes in Mexico's Clausura with just three regular-season matchdays to play, and emotion-packed early exchanges in China PR, where no team has yet been able to make first place their own. Over in Argentina, there is a top-of-the-table battle to follow the superclásico. FIFA.com brings you what is in store outside Europe.

Argentinian Clausura: Top two to compete
After last weekend's 1-1 draw between Boca Juniors and River Plate, the high-octane encounters continue apace with a meeting of leaders Velez Sarsfield and closest challengers Colon. Lanus, in third, will have one eye on that match while they prepare to visit Godoy Cruz, themselves struggling to avoid relegation despite an entertaining brand of football.

Racing Club are also in danger of the drop and in a quirk of fate they visit underperforming San Lorenzo, in 18th, and their new coach Diego Simeone - a self-confessed Racing fan. Meanwhile, struggling Rosario Central, under their new coach Miguel Angel Russo, Simeone's predecessor at El Ciclón, host mighty Boca, with whom Russo won the Copa Libertadores 2007.

High stakes: Velez, competition leaders and the division's only unbeaten team, travel to take on a Colon side that have won four and drawn one of their five home games thus far. Will Colon's veteran forward Esteban Fuertes, once of Derby County, prove decisive or will Velez's Rodrigo Lopez score for the fourth successive game?
Player to watch: Racing keeper Pablo Migliore has been a key figure in his side's run of five games without conceding a goal and will be keen to keep this spell going against San Lorenzo. The 27-year-old performed exceptionally last time out against Banfield despite a heavy dose of flu, and is rumoured to be attracting interest from Italian football.

Mexican Clausura: Nothing to choose
Heading down the finishing straight of the regular season, things could barely be tighter. To date, only Toluca have booked their place in the end-of-season Liguilla (play-offs), while with three matchdays to go 14 other teams are still in with a shout of picking up one of the seven remaining berths.

High stakes: There is plenty to play for in the meeting of two of the country's biggest clubs: Pumas and Guadalajara. A win for the Universitarios would guarantee a Liguilla spot, while three points for visitors Chivas would move them just two points behind their hosts at the top of Group 2.
Player to watch: Hector Mancilla, last season's leading scorer, finds himself two goals behind America striker Salvador Cabanas in the race for this season's crown. With Toluca already safely qualified, will his team-mates get behind his cause and give him the ammunition to shoot down this weekend's opponents Atlas?

Chinese Super League: Slippery at the top
In the opening weeks of the new Chinese league season, no one side has yet taken a firm hold on first place. Currently leading the standings going into matchday six are Henan Jianye, who face a tricky away encounter at Jiangsu Sainty. The division's only unbeaten team, Beijing Guo'an in fifth, will be keen to avoid defeat once more when they visit seventh-placed Shandong Luneng.

High stakes: Eighth-placed Changchun Yatai, who won the 2007 title in only their second season in the top flight, welcome two-time champions Shanghai Shenhua, in second. The home side, under coach Du Zhenyu, are chasing a third win of the season which would edge them close to the leaders, though the visitors are just two points off top spot themselves.
Player to watch: Yanko Valkanov has been a rock at the heart of the Shanghai backline this season. The Bulgarian defender has started all five of their league games so far and is also the club's top scorer with five goals in all competitions.

Major League Soccer: Two big names yet to win
Western Conference leaders Chivas USA will be keen to cement their advantage at the top when they take on FC Dallas, while over in the Eastern Conference, Chicago Fire can reclaim first place from Kansas City Wizards by beating reigning champions Columbus Crew, who are bottom of the standings and winless so far. Also yet to taste victory are Los Angeles Galaxy, who will be seeking their first three points of 2009 when they travel to Colorado Rapids.

High stakes: New York Red Bulls host DC United in the Giants Stadium on Sunday in a match with a derby flavour. The capital club are buoyed by a midweek 2-0 Open Cup success over FC Dallas, achieved without first-team regulars Luciano Emilio, Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez, while the New York outfit went down 1-0 at Kansas City Wizards in MLS action on Thursday.
Player to watch: Seattle Sounders' veteran shot-stopper Kasey Keller should return against San Jose Earthquakes after completing a suspension. The well-travelled custodian has yet to concede a goal so far this campaign, with the Sounders going down 1-0 against Kansas City only after Keller's early dismissal and losing 2-0 at Chivas USA in his absence.

Elsewhere
Bayelsa are setting the pace in the Nigerian Premier League and have racked up a five-point lead over closest chasers Heartland, having played a game more. The leaders have a relatively simple task this weekend, at least on paper, when hosting Nasarawa United, who are well adrift at the bottom of the standings. Heartland, for their part, visit a Getaway side fighting desperately against the drop. Also catching the eye is third-placed Enyimba's trip to fourth-placed Warri Wolves.

Turning to Chile and traditional heavyweights Colo-Colo remain way back in 13th spot, despite a win last time out. El Cacique will be keen to continue their recovery when they host Huachipato on Saturday. Leaders Union Espanola, who are seven points clear of second-placed Universidad de Chile having played a game more, travel to fifth-placed Universidad Catolica.