World Leagues review
Although many football fans are focussed on the ongoing FIFA Confederations Cup, there is still high drama being played out in the various domestic leagues across the world. Notably in Argentina, where a fascinating season is poised for a dramatic climax following the penultimate round of action. It is also the pointy end of the season in Chile and Uruguay, while in Brazil a world star made a welcome return to goalscoring form. We also look at the latest action in China and USA as FIFA.com reviews the latest global club action outside Europe.
Argentinian Clausura: Dramatic title finale awaits
The Argentina title race will be decided in the most dramatic fashion imaginable with the two remaining contenders set to meet on the last day of the season. Velez Sarsfield will host Huracan, who need just a draw to clinch the title, following their 3-0 triumph over Arsenal. At the other end of the spectrum, the pain continued for Argentina's two most successful clubs, with River Plate beaten 1-0 by Godoy Cruz, while Boca Juniors fell 2-1 at Gimnasia La Plata.
Big game: Three title contenders became two when the highly anticipated clash between Velez and Lanus ended in a 1-1 draw. Jose Sand put Lanus ahead in the first half, but Uruguayan striker Hernan Lopez struck back from the penalty spot mid-way through the second half to rescue Velez a point and end Lanus' title aspirations.
Headline-grabber: Huracan coach Angel Cappa is now just one match away from leading the club to their first championship since 1973. The most prolific team in the league have played an attacking brand of football, rarely seen at the club since the heady days of former FIFA World Cup-winning coach Cesar Luis Menotti.
Brasileirao: Contrasting fortunes for leaders
Atletico Mineiro took a three-point lead at the summit thanks to a drama-charged 3-2 win at Santos, while Flamengo stunned previous early-season pacesetters Internacional 4-0. Atletico remain the only unbeaten team in the league with a disallowed goal in injury-time ending Santos' hopes of sharing the points. Neymar had Santos ahead at the interval but second-half strikes from Diego Tardelli, Evandro and Carlos Alberto swung the match before Leo reduced the deficit with two minutes remaining.
Big game: Corinthians claimed local bragging rights ahead of Sao Paolo by taking out the state derby 3-1 at the Morumbi. Cristian and Chicao scored either side of half-time for Corinthians with Jucilei heading in a third in the 72nd minute, before Richarlyson netted a consolation ten minutes from time.
Headline-grabbber: Former Inter Milan striker Adriano took his tally to four goals in the last four outings thanks to a hat-trick for Flamengo against the previously unbeaten Internacional. Adriano opening the scoring after 12 minutes, then fired in a free-kick just prior to the interval, before converting a penalty mid-way through the second stanza.
Chinese Super League: No change at the top
A single point proved enough for Beijing Guoan and Shandong Luneng to remain top two level on 23 points, with the former leading the reigning champions on goal difference. Beijing were held scoreless at home by Henan Jianye, as were Shandong by Chongqing Lifan. Round 12 proved to be hard-fought across the board with only ten goals scored across the eight games.
Big game: Perennial title contenders Shanghai Shenhua and Dalian Shide faced off, and with both team's struggling throughout the campaign to date, it was Shanghai that took the honours with Serbian international Aleksandar Rodic slotting home the only goal of the match.
Headline grabber: Changchun Yatai's Cao Tianbao has made an explosive start this season, pulling the team's attacking strings while scoring six times to sit in third place in the scoring chart. The diminutive midfielder proved a livewire against Guangzhou Yiyao, setting up the opener for Liu Xiaodong early on before an own goal completed the scoring.
American Major League Soccer: Late strike sends Houston top
Houston Dynamos secured outright lead of top spot in the Western Conference - and the league - thanks to a come-from-behind 1-1 draw at home to Real Salt Lake. Fabian Espindola grabbed his first of the season to put the visitors up near the half hour, until Brian Ching bagged the Dynamo's a share of the spoils a minute from time. In an abbreviated weekend featuring just five fixtures, new club Seattle Sounders continued to collect points, this time with a 1-1 draw at struggling New York Red Bulls. Home town star Juan Pablo Angel ended a goal drought just before the break, with fellow Colombian Fredy Montero bagging his seventh of an impressive campaign soon after.
Big game: FC Dallas staged a late rally at home to stun defending champions Columbus Crew 2-1. The hosts fell behind to an early Pablo Ricchetti own goal, but Eric Avila restored parity ten minutes from time with Kenny Cooper stroking home from the penalty spot in the dying stages.
Headline-grabber: Pablo Campos helped his San Jose Earthquakes team to a much-needed three points netting from the penalty spot early on and then setting up Ryan Johnson for what proved his sixth of the season against an LA Galaxy side missing the attacking talents of national team skipper Landon Donovan due to FIFA Confederations Cup commitments.
Chilean: Goal fest lights up Apertura
Universidad Catolica, Union Espanola, Universidad de Chile and Everton qualified for the semi-finals as goals rained down in the Chilean Apertura. Universidad Catolica impressed the most ahead of this week's semis completing a 4-1 away win over Santiago Morning for a remarkable 8-1 aggregate scoreline.
Big game: Everton celebrated their centenary in style with a 2-1 win against Municipal Iquique for a 4-3 aggregate victory in what was by far the closest of the ties.
Headline-grabber: Gustavo Canales scored twice to set his Union Espanola side on path to an emphatic 6-1 win against O'Higgins following a first-leg 1-1 stalemate. The tall Argentinian now trails only Santiago Morning's Esteban Paredes on the top goalscorers chart.
Defensor Sporting and Nacional battled to a 1-1 impasse amid torrential rain in the first leg of the Uruguayan championship final at the Centenario. Traditional giants Nacional opened the scoring through Nicolas Lodeiro on 21 minutes but Defensor hit back three minutes later when Diego de Souza scored with a powerful left-footed drive. Defensor played with a one-man advantage for the final half-hour, after Matias Rodriguez was sent off, with the second leg to be played in a fortnight.