Boca hold firm, derby filip for Flamengo

Boca Juniors stayed top in the Argentinian Clausura, Flamengo took the spoils in the big state game in Brazil and Monterrey beat defending champions and arch enemies Tigres to move into second place in Mexico.

FIFA.com reflects on those stories and a brace for the in-form Thierry Henry as it looks back at the weekend’s events in the Americas. 

Argentina: Comeback boosts Boca
Boca Juniors came from a goal behind to down Argentinos Juniors 2-1 at home and stay ahead of the pack in the Clausura. Pedro Pablo Hernandez put the visitors ahead early on, with Boca hitting back through Juan Insaurralde and Dario Cvitanich either side of the break to stay two points clear of second-placed Arsenal, who beat Olimpo at home by the same scoreline.

The two teams immediately to their rear, Newell’s Old Boys and Velez Sarsfield, both fell behind in their respective encounters with Godoy Cruz and Independiente and had to settle for 1-1 draws that saw them lose further ground on Boca. Meanwhile, erstwhile leaders Estudiantes succumbed to a second straight defeat, this time to Atletico Belgrano in Cordoba, and are now five points off the pace in fifth.

Mexico: Derby delight for Águilas and Rayados
America and Monterrey took the spoils in the weekend’s big derbies in Mexico. Los Rayados proved too strong for city rivals and defending champions Tigres in El Clásico del Norte, winning 2-0 at the Estadio Tecnologico thanks to a brace from Aldo de Nigris. The two sides are now tied on 28 points, with Monterrey moving second ahead of their neighbours on goal difference.

In Sunday’s Clásico, meanwhile, a late Paul Aguilar strike gave America victory over Guadalajara, moving them up to fifth and leaving Chivas well short of the play-off places in 12th.

Major League Soccer: Henry at it again
A week on from a headline-grabbing hat-trick, Thierry Henry stole the limelight once more with a brace in New York Red Bulls’ 4-1 romp at Columbus Crew on Saturday, his goals coming after Kenny Cooper had set the men from the Big Apple on the way with a double of his own. In unstoppable form since returning from his brief reunion with Arsenal, the veteran French striker has now scored seven goals this season in MLS this year and 23 in his three seasons so far in the USA.

The New Yorkers are six points off the pace in the Eastern Conference, which is still headed by Sporting Kansas City, who beat Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 at home. Leading the way in the West, with a three-point advantage over San Jose Earthquakes, are Real Salt Lake, who saw off Colorado Rapids 2-0.

Brazil: Boost for Fla, no stopping Sao Paulo
The country’s state championships are entering a decisive phase and nowhere more so than in Rio de Janeiro, where Flamengo belied their spluttering Copa Libertadores form to earn a 2-1 derby win over Vasco da Gama, themselves already safely through to the last 16 of the continental tournament. Goals from Deivid and Ronaldinho gave Os Rubro-negros the win that takes them into the semi-finals of the state championship. Joining them there are Botafogo, 3-1 victors over Friburguense.

Over in the Paulistão, table-topping Sao Paulo made it ten wins in a row when they downed Mogi Mirim 2-0 in the penultimate round of games in the first phase. Close on the heels of O Tricolor are Corinthians, who beat Paulista 1-0. The weekend’s big losers were Palmeiras and Santos, who fell to respective surprise defeats to Guarani and Sao Caetano. 

Elsewhere
Universidad de Chile celebrated their qualification for the knockout phase of the Copa Libertadores with a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Santiago Wanderers, goals from Angelo Henriquez, Emilio Hernandez and Fernandes Junior keeping them three points clear of the field in the Apertura in Chile. The weekend’s most emphatic victory was Universidade Catolica’s 5-1 home demolition of Cobreloa.

Olimpia stayed in control in the Apertura in Paraguay courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Sportivo Luqueno. The leaders left it late, however, with Arnold Castorino and Eugenio Montiel scoring in the final 20 minutes to secure a comeback win that keeps them four points clear and sets them up nicely for Thursday’s decisive Copa Libertadores tie with Emelec.

Another side with hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Libertadores are The Strongest, who improved their precarious position in the Clausura in Bolivia by overpowering Real Mamore 4-0, though they still lie one place off the bottom and 13 points adrift of leaders Blooming.