It was another exciting weekend of action across Latin America, as FIFA.com reveals in its customary weekly review. Spot-kick antics and regional clássicos took centre stage in Brazil, while late winners were the order of the day for Mexico’s pace-setters. Elsewhere, domestic powerhouses Colo Colo continue to struggle in Chile, and Uruguayan champions Defensor Sporting picked up where they left off last term.
Brazilian state championships: El Loco living up to his name
In a topsy-turvy Carioca clássico, Botafogo sank Rio de Janeiro rivals Fluminense 3-2 to leapfrog their opponents into first place in Group 2 of the Guanabara Cup. The centre of attention was Bota’s Uruguayan forward Sebastian Abreu who, after having a trademark chipped penalty kick easily saved by Flu keeper Diego Cavalieri, was given a second chance minutes later. This time Cavalieri lost the mental duel, when El Loco sent the former Liverpool man the wrong way with another dinked effort.
Big game: Following their painful early exit from this year’s Copa Libertadores, Corinthians gave their supporters something to cheer about with a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Palmeiras. The victory, courtesy of wing-back Alessandro, also gave their Paulista championship hopes a timely boost.
Headline-grabbers: Ronaldinho scored his first goal in a Flamengo shirt when netting from the spot in his new club’s 3-2 win over Boavista. The three points mean Fla have secured their place in the Guanabara Cup semi-finals with a match to spare.
Mexican Clausura: Pumas and San Luis leave it late
Pumas UNAM moved level on points with San Luis at the top of the Clausura 2011 overall standings thanks to a dramatic 1-0 away win over fellow Group 3 outfit Puebla. It required an 89-minute strike from Carlos Orrantia to seal the victory at Puebla’s Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
Big game: In a thrilling clash at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras, San Luis found themselves 2-0 down at the hands of visitors Estudiantes Tecos, who scored in the 20th and 54th minutes via Elgabry Rangel and Rubens Sambueza respectively. Los Sanluisinos turned things around in the last half hour, however, thanks to goals from Luis Hernandez, Othoniel Arce and an 88th-minute winner from Peruvian Wilmer Aguirre.
Headline-grabbers: Argentinian midfielder Daniel Rolfi Montenegro was the star of the show in America’s win over Queretaro, with the set-piece specialist laying on goals for Daniel Marquez and countryman Matias Vuoso in a 3-1 success.
Uruguayan Clausura: Winning start for champs
Defensor Sporting kicked off their title defence in fine style with a 4-1 win over River Plate. The resounding victory came as something of a surprise, given the number of key players they have lost since their Apertura 2010 triumph.
Big game: Lying rock-bottom in the relegation standings (decided by each team’s top-flight points haul over the last four short tournaments), Miramar Misiones pulled off a shock when handing heavyweights Penarol a 3-0 home reverse in Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario. Having decided not to deploy their recent January signings, Los Aurinegros can have few complaints about the nature of the defeat.
Headline-grabbers: Former Uruguayan international Alvaro El Chino Recoba reminded football fans everywhere he is not finished yet by firing a 66th-minute winner in Danubio’s 1-0 victory over Cerro. The 34-year-old ex-Inter Milan star’s decisive strike came from the penalty spot.
In the Chilean Clausura, leaders Universidad Catolica held firm to sink Audax Italiano 3-1, though the weekend brought another loss for crisis-stricken Colo Colo. El Cacique went down 2-1 away to Santiago Wanderers on Saturday.
Deportivo Saprissa won their first game on their travels for a staggering nine months by thrashing Brujas 4-0 on Matchday 6 of the Costa Rican Torneo de Verano 2011. Still leading the way overall are San Carlos, who recorded a 1-0 win over Perez Zeledon.
Finally we turn to the Guatemalan Clausura, where El Mictlan are two points clear at the top after six rounds of games. The leaders beat Deportivo Heredia 1-0 to take their tally to 13 points so far, while defending champions Comunicaciones’ 1-0 home reverse at the hands of Municipal keeps them joint-bottom of the standings alongside Xinabajul.