World Leagues review
Although there were a host of derby matches on the weekend bill, the only clásico showdown to live up to expectations was Santos's meeting with Sao Paulo. Yet, as FIFA.com reveals, there was plenty of entertainment elsewhere in the major leagues outside Europe.
Argentinian Apertura: Déjà vu in the Superclásico
Colon replaced San Lorenzo at the top of the table on Sunday after ending their unbeaten record with a 2-1 home win. The men from Santa Fe stand a point clear of Estudiantes, Banfield and Newell's Old Boys, while San Lorenzo slide down to fifth.
Big game: The latest meeting between the superpowers of Buenos Aires was almost an exact repetition of their last encounter at the Bombonera in April, which also ended in a 1-1 draw.
The only difference was the order in which the goals came, with Marcelo Gallardo putting River Plate ahead with a sublime free-kick and the inevitable Martin Palermo scoring Boca Juniors' leveller in the second half. The stalemate brought Boca's winning run to an end and allowed Los Millonarios to inch up to 16th.
Headline grabber: Santiago Silva helped himself to two goals as Banfield downed Godoy Cruz 3-0. The Uruguayan front man has hit nearly 70% of all Los Albiverdes' goals so far and is now the leading scorer in the Apertura with an impressive nine strikes in ten games, one of the reasons why they are the only unbeaten team left in the championship.
Brasileirao: Leaders feeling the heat
Palmeiras kicked off the latest round of games last Wednesday with a 2-0 defeat at Santo Andre, a result that allowed the chasing pack to close the gap. Atletico Mineiro moved to within a single point of O Verdao after a Diego Tardelli goal gave them victory over Vitoria. Internacional and Sao Paulo lie one point further back following respective wins over Gremio and Santos.
Big game: Sao Paulo picked themselves up from two straight defeats to overcome city rivals Santos by the odd goal in seven in a pulsating derby. Hosts Santos went ahead twice in the first half through Andre and Rodrigo Souto, with replies from Hernanes and Washington ensuring the sides went in all square at the break.
O Tricolor Paulista took the initiative after the restart, and though Jorge Wagner's goal was cancelled out by Robson's second of the game, prolific goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni sealed victory with a trademark free-kick, his 84th career goal, all of them for his beloved Sao Paulo.
Headline grabber: The alarm bells are ringing for Botafogo, who now lie one off the bottom after going down to an Adriano goal against Flamengo. Propping them up in last place are the mighty Fluminense, who drew 2-2 with Goias and have only seven games left to save themselves from the drop.
Korean K-League: Play-off places still up for grabs
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will have to wait to clinch top spot in the regular season after being held to a 1-1 draw by Suwon Samsung Bluewings. With just one round of games remaining, Jeonbuk hold a two-point lead over FC Seoul. Along with Pohang Steelers they are the only sides who have secured their places in the six-team championship play-offs.
Big game: Faced with the task of protecting a two-goal lead in the second leg of their AFC Champions League semi-final against Umm Salal on Wednesday, Pohang coach Sergio Farias sent out his second string against Gwangju Sangmu. The Steelers were still too strong for the Phoenix, though, and secured a 3-2 win that will do their moral no harm ahead of the return fixture with the Qataris.
Headline grabber: Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, Chunnam Dragons, Gyeongnam FC and Incheon United are the four sides vying for the last three available play-off places. All will be decided on what is sure to be a tense final day of regular-league action next Sunday.
Mexican Apertura: Top dogs lose their bite
Toluca stayed out front in Mexico despite seeing their winless run stretch to three games with a 2-1 defeat to Tecos UAG. The frontrunners were grateful to Puebla and Pumas UNAM for inflicting the same scoreline on closest challengers Monarcas Morelia and Monterrey respectively.
Big game: An early goal from Colombian defender Aquivaldo Mosquera gave America the narrowest of wins in the clásico against Guadalajara. Los Aguilas lie second in Group 2, while Chivas are third in Group 1 and still have a chance of forcing their way into the title play-offs.
Headline grabber: Pumas engineered an unlikely late revival against Monterrey after falling behind to a Humberto Suazo strike. Two goals in the space of three minutes by Pablo Barrera and Ismael Iniguez, the second of them coming five minutes from time, gave the 2009 Clausura champs a welcome win.
Sydney FC saw off Brisbane Roar 2-1 to become the new leaders in the Australian A-League. Melbourne Victory moved up to second after a Mate Dugandzic brace helped them to a 3-1 defeat of Adelaide United. The day's big losers were Gold Coast United, who slid down to third after a thumping 6-0 loss at the hands of a Wellington Phoenix side that had only won one game all season and went into the game on the back of six consecutive draws.
Kawasaki Frontale showed just why they are leading the way in the Japanese J-League by putting seven goals past Sanfrecce Hiroshima without reply. Undeterred, title holders Kashima Antlers kept the gap to one point after overcoming JEF United Chiba 3-0. With only four games remaining, an exciting finale is in prospect.
The play-off line-up in American Major League Soccer was concluded at the weekend as the regular season came to an end. Topping the season-closing bill is the match-up between Chivas USA and Los Angeles Galaxy. In the three other ties New England Revolution take on Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew cross swords with Salt Lake and Houston Dynamo face off against high-flying newcomers Seattle Sounders.
FC Dallas striker Jeff Cunningham claimed the 2009 Golden Boot with a haul of 17 goals, 16 of them coming in the final 15 games. That amazing scoring streak allowed Cunningham to join a select band of players who have won the accolade twice, the others being Carlos Ruiz, Taylor Twellman, Stern John and Roy Lassiter.