Derbies steal the show

There is something special about any derby match, but in South America the passion that local rivalries can arouse somehow always seems more intense. Argentina and Brazil both played host to pulsating local contests, while the erstwhile leaders resumed their perch in Japan and it rained goals in Qatar. As always, brings you the pick of the weekend's action.

Argentinian Apertura: San Lorenzo sail on
Yet another win for San Lorenzo, who look thoroughly dominant in the Apertura at the moment. They disposed of San Martin at home with a goal from Nestor Andres Silvera, and with two games against mid-table opposition coming up, they may be able to open up a comfortable lead in the weeks to come.

Tigre, however, managed to keep within striking distance, seeing off Lanus 3-0 at home to remain five points off the pace. Newell's Old Boys, level on points with Tigre at the start of the round, could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Godoy Cruz.

Big game: Boca Juniors beat their eternal Buenos Aires rivals River Plate 1-0 in the Superclásico. Los Xeneizes even managed to rise above the dismissal of right-back Hugo Ibarra shortly after half-time, youngster Lucas Viatri sealing the points on 61 minutes.
Headline-grabber: The 27-year-old Martin Morel did not even play professional football until the age of 25, but he is certainly proving his worth with Tigre. After playing a significant part in their Apertura 2007 success, he is unquestionably El Matador's man of the moment, with two goals against Lanus at the weekend.

Brasileirao: Classic rivalries steal the show
It was a weekend of derby drama in Brazil, with the Choque Rei in Sao Paulo providing a particularly fervid atmosphere. Palmeiras, desperate to maintain their title challenge, showed great resolve to come from 2-0 down and snatch a point against Sao Paulo at the Palestra Italia.

Vanderlei Luxemburgo's side's comeback moved them within a point of leaders Gremio, who suffered a shock reverse at Portuguesa. Cruzeiro, however, crept into second place thanks to their 2-0 defeat of Atletico Mineiro in another local derby, this time in Belo Horizonte.

Big game: It was Flamengo who emerged victorious in the Clássico dos Milhões, scoring the only goal against Vasco da Gama in Rio. The spotlight fell on unfortunate Vasco defender Jorge Luiz, whose own goal gave O Mengão all three points.
Headline-grabber: Among goalscoring keepers, Rogerio Ceni remains the crown prince. Sao Paulo's dead-ball master scored his fourth of the season in the derby, slotting home a penalty in the fifth minute before sparking fiery scenes as he scurried back to his goalmouth to anticipate the Verdão kick-off.

Japanese J.League: Antlers back on top
They may be out of the ACL Champions League, but Kashima Antlers are doubly determined to secure the J.League crown. They went two points clear at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory over Kyoto Purple Sanga, Brazilian striker Marquinhos scoring the winner in the second half.

Nagoya Grampus Eight, level with Antlers going into the matchday, were frustrated by a 0-0 draw at Yokohama Marinos, while Oita Trinita grabbed a share of second place with a 1-0 win at home to FC Tokyo.

Big game: Tokyo Verdy left it late in the relegation battle with Omiya Ardija, but a goal eight minutes from time by Brazilian playmaker Diego was enough to lift the men from the capital out of the drop zone.
Headline-grabber: Masato Yamazaki scored a late winner in Gamba Osaka's meeting with struggling Jubilo Iwata to keep Akira Nishino's men alive in the title race.

Australian A-League: Level at the summit
Adelaide United gained a timely boost ahead of their AFC Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night, beating Queensland 1-0 at the Suncorp Stadium to draw level with previous leaders Melbourne Victory. Second-placed Sydney suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat at Perth Glory, with makeshift striker Jamie Harnwell scoring both goals for the home side.

Elsewhere, Wellington Phoenix climbed up to within a point of the top four, scoring the only goal of the game against the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.

Big game: The game between the last two A-League champions was decided by a lone goal from Newcastle Jets youngster Marko Jesic, in his first senior start, although Melbourne were forced to play with ten men for much of the second half after Archie Thompson receiving his marching orders for dissent.
Headline-grabber: Adelaide defender Robert Cornthwaite had never been thought of as a goalscorer until recently, but he has suddenly been transformed into a penalty-box predator. His latest strike settled the game against Queensland.

It was a bad day for the top two in China PR, with leaders Shandong Luneng suffering a 3-2 reverse in Shanghai Shenhua, and second-placed Shaanxi Baorong succumbing to a lone goal from Changchun Yatai's Honduran defender Samuel Caballero, formerly of Udinese. Shandong therefore remain top, but only three points separate them from their weekend opponents, who are level with Shaanxi in second. With the rest of the pack well behind, the title will surely belong to one of these three.

Al Garrafa went top in Qatar in stylish fashion, beating Umm Salal 5-2. They were helped by a brace from Brazilian Fernandao and a goal from Swiss international Hakan Yakin. Al Sadd looked set to join them at the summit after going into a 3-1 lead against Al Khor, but two late goals from Mohamed Sayed Adnan kept their opponents two points off the pace.