Victory crowned as battles intensify
There was a variety of action across all corners of the globe on the weekend, with some leagues in their inaugeral stages while others reached their climax. The Argentinian Clausura continues to be a fascinating battle with three new teams taking the lead after four rounds, while at the other end of the spectrum Melbourne Victory were crowned Australian champions for the second time in three seasons. As ever, FIFA.com is on hand to round up an engrossing few days of action outside of Europe.
Argentinian Clausura: Title race wide open
Arsenal went top of the Argentinian Clausura on goal difference after seeing off the challenge of a nine-man Estudiantes 3-1. First-half strikes from Jossimar Mosquera, Luciano Leguizamon and Javier Yacuzzi did the damage before Enzo Perez replied for Estudiantes.
The win moved Arsenal to nine points from four games and they lead Gimnasia-La Plata and Lanus on goal difference. Last week's leaders - Newell's Old Boys, River Plate, Colon and Godoy Cruz - all failed to score maximum points creating a log-jam near the top of the ladder.
Big Game: Buenos Aires giants River Plate slumped to one of their worst defeats in recent memory when they were routed 5-1 by San Lorenzo. Jonathan Santana put San Lorenzo ahead after just 27 seconds and they never looked back and held a 4-1 lead at half-time
Headline Grabber: La Bombonera cult figure Martin Palermo made history with his first goal since returning from a six-month injury lay-off to help his team to a 3-1 win over Huracan. Back from a knee injury, Palermo scored the game's opener with a typically opportunist effort in the 69th minute, and in doing so became Boca's all-time top scorer by taking his overall tally to 195.
Brazilian State Championships: Fairytale over as big guns triumph
Botafogo put an end to Resende's fairytale run by scoring a 3-0 win in the Taca Guanabara final and deny the unfashionable club a place in the overall Campeonato Carioca decider in their centenary year.
In the Paulistao, leaders Palmeiras continued their unbeaten run with a 1-0 triumph over Guarani on Saturday, while a day later second-placed Corinthians had to come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Marilia. Brazilian champions Sao Paulo slumped to a 1-0 defeat in the same competition at Santos, where influential Colombian midfielder Mauricio Molina scored the game's only goal five minutes before the break.
Big Game: Internacional stretched their unbeaten run against arch-rivals Gremio to six games in the Rio Grande do Sul championship, winning 2-1 in the Porto Alegre derby, one of the biggest fixtures in Brazil.
Headline Grabber: Despite not taking the field Ronaldo caused chaos simply watching his Corinthians side from the stands, with the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year recipient requiring a security escort from the stadium ahead of his much-anticpated return to the field during the coming fortnight.
Mexican Clausura: Champions hang on
Champions Toluca were forced to twice come from behind to maintain their unbeaten record a 3-3 draw with Monterrey, in a round highlighted by intriguing match-ups with teams from other groups.
A brace from Monterrey's Chilean striker Humberto Suazo moved him to seven goals for the season alongside compatriot Hector Mancilla who scored for Toluca. Puebla, previously third in Group 1, and Atlas, fourth in Group 3, produced a 1-1 stalemate to sit off the pace with eight points each.
Big game: Group One leaders Pachuca lost the championship's only other unbeaten record when they were sensationally beaten 5-0 at Guadalajara, who scored all their goals in the second half. The win took Guadalajara top of Group 2 with 12 points while Pachuca remains at the top of Group 1 with 17 points.
Headline Grabber: The arrival of legendary Argentinian coach Jose Pekerman following Manuel Lapuente's departure failed to lift the gloom surrounding Tigres and they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Pumas UNAM.
Tunisian Ligue 1: Battle royale at the top
In what may prove to be season-defining encounter, Club Africain maintained their unbeaten run in the league, but more importantly took the competition lead off Esperance with a stunning 3-0 victory as the league's top two teams went head-to-head.
Knowing that a loss would put a massive dent in their title aspirations and put them four points off the pace, Club Africain secured a one-goal margin at the break through Zouhaier Dhaouadi before two quickfire second-half strikes confirmed the result.
Big Game: Etoile Sportive du Sahel remained in touch with the leaders with a fourth straight win. The 1-0 away win at Hammam-Sousse sees them sitting just three points off first and still in the hunt for the title or at least in the race for a top-two finish and a berth in the Arab Champions League.
Headline Grabber: Experienced midfielder Oussama Sellami showed his value on the big stage by scoring a double for Club Africain against leaders Esperance. Sellami scored from the penalty spot early in the second half before grabbing a second within six-minutes to settle hometown nerves.
Melbourne Victory confirmed their status as Australia's top team by winning the A-League grand final 1-0 over 2008 FIFA Club World Cup participants Adelaide United in front of 53,000 in Melbourne. Having already won the Premiership at the end of the regular season, Melbourne continued their recent dominance over Adelaide in the finals, although it took a lone goal from veteran midfielder Tom Pondeljak 14 minutes into the second half to decide the outcome.
Both sides lost players to red cards, with Adelaide's Brazilian Cristiano departing the field after just 11 minutes, while Melbourne's Socceroo striker Danny Allsopp was dismissed midway through the second half. It wasn't all bad news for Adelaide though with the runners-up berth enough to guarantee their participation in next year's AFC Asian Champions League alongside the Victory.
In El Savador, league leaders Isidro Metapan and second-placed Nejapa both maintained their unbeaten records in the Salvadoran Clausura playing out a hard-fought 2-2 draw. The stalemate allowed LA Firpo to close in thanks to a 2-1 win over Vista Hermosa.
It was a similar scenario in Singapore with the two top teams shaping up but this time there was a decisive result as Singapore Armed Forces saw off the challenge of Geylang United, thanks to first half efforts from John Wilkinson and Alex Duric. The result saw Singapore Armed Forces move to six points alongside Gombak United as the only two teams with maximum points from two outings.