World Leagues review
The gaze of fans around the world returned to domestic action following recent 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers. FIFA.com provides you with an armchair ride across the leagues of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, the USA, Japan, Korea Republic, South Africa and the Maldives.
Argentinian Apertura: New face at the summit
Rosario Central took full advantage of Velez Sarsfield's failure to claim maximum points and moved top of the Argentinian Apertura just a few months after they narrowly avoided relegation. After four rounds of the new campaign, Rosario are the only team with a perfect record thanks to a 1-0 win over lowly Charcarita Juniors. Velez, who were held 0-0 at home by Diego Simeone's San Lorenzo, are joined in second by Estudiantes and Banfield.
High stakes: Buenos Aires giants Boca Juniors slipped to a mid-table position with their shock 2-0 loss to newly-promoted Atletico Tucuman with Juan Pablo Pereyra and Fabio Escobar on the scoresheet.
Headline-grabber: Uruguayan forward Santiago Silva notched a brace for Banfield at last season's high-flyers Lanus to help his side to a 2-1 victory.
Brasileirao: Sao Paulo close on top two
The top two, Palmeiras and Internacional, both lost as Sao Paulo, chasing an unprecedented fourth straight title, climbed to within a point of the summit. Leaders Palmeiras went down 3-2 at Vitoria, with Inter losing by the same scoreline at home to mid-table Cruzeiro.
Big game: Dagoberto and Hugo provided the goals for Sao Paulo as they saw off Avai 2-0 at the Morumbi to open the title race wide open.
Headline-grabber: Adriano continued his return to form with another two goals in Flamengo's 3-0 victory over Sport Recife at the Maracana, taking the former Inter Milan striker's goal tally to 12 this campaign.
American Major League Soccer: Big guns collide
The meeting between the respective conference leaders had a dramatic finale, with Eddie Gaven converting an injury-time penalty as Columbus Crew overcame Houston Dynamo 2-1. The Crew had opened the scoring as defender Frankie Hejduk scored his first goal of the campaign, before Cam Weaver restored parity ten minutes from time.
High stakes: FC Dallas beat Los Angeles Galaxy 6-3 at home, the result keeping alive the former's play-off hopes.
Headline-grabber: USA international Conor Casey remains one clear at the top of the scoring chart after netting in Colorado Rapids' 3-2 defeat by Toronto FC.
Japanese J.League: Heavens conspire against Frontale
The weekend's key contest between leaders Kashima Antlers and second-placed Kawasaki Frontale was abandoned because of heavy rain with Frontale holding a 3-1 lead. Korea DPR forward Chong Tese scored a first-half brace, with Brazilian Marquinhos pulling one back before Juninho extended the lead in the 66th minute. Kawasaki were denied a likely away win when the downpour forced the players off the field on 74 minutes, with the match to replayed. The result leaves Kashima seven points clear of Frontale, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Shimizu S-Pulse.
High stakes: Heavyweights Urawa Red Diamonds finally halted their run of seven straight defeats with an impressive 4-1 home win over Montedio Yamagata, much to the relief of German coach Volker Finke.
Headline-grabber: Silky midfielder Takahiro Futagawa scored twice to lead Gamba Osaka to a 3-2 win over Vissel Kobe as the Asian champions moved to fifth, eight points off the pace.
South African Premiership: Tight contests at the top
Third hosted first but neither Golden Arrows nor Orlando Pirates were able to produce any goals in a fixture renowned for its attractive football. The result kept the Pirates top, with Maritzburg United moving into second after five rounds thanks to a 1-0 triumph at Kaiser Chiefs, where Rudolf Bester grabbed the all-important strike.
High stakes: Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United battled to a 1-1 draw as the pair turned on an impressive spectacle in the Tshwane derby. Katlego Mphela put Sundowns ahead from a penalty early in the second half, with Anthony Laffor equalising soon after, also from the penalty spot.
Headline-grabber: Emile Baron claimed player of the match honours for helping SuperSport United to a share of the points against Mamelodi with the experienced shotstopper pulling off a string of key saves, including a crucial last-minute block.
In the Mexican Clausura, Toluca marched on relentlessly in Group A with a 1-0 win at Indios Juarez, Chilean striker Hector Mancilla on target. In Group B, America's 5-0 reverse of Tecos maintained their advantage on goal difference ahead of Monterrey, who also impressed by winning 3-0 over Atlante.
Sante Fe went second in Colombia with a 4-2 win over rivals Millonarios.
Pohang Steelers recorded the biggest win in the history of Korea Republic's K-League by demolishing Jeju United 8-1. The win keeps Pohang in third but moves them to within a point of second-placed Jeonbuk Motors, who lost 2-1 at the home of leaders FC Seoul.
VB Sports Club have claimed their inaugural Maldives League crown with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over former champions Victory in the final game of the season.