World Leagues preview
Korea Republic will sound its last call for the play-offs this weekend, while USA will begin their own knockout series. With decisive derbies in Brazil, Chile, Australia and South Africa, three teams striving to reign supreme on the final day in China PR, and the front two colliding in Argentina, FIFA.com previews the upcoming action outside Europe.
Argentinian Apertura: Leadership on the line
Unbeaten Banfield will host Estudiantes in a battle of the top two, with their respective marksmen Santiago Silva and Mauro Boselli eager to determine the outcome. Newell's Old Boys, level on points with the aforementioned, will expect maximum points from a trip to tailenders Tigre.
Kily Gonzalez will look to pull the strings for fourth-placed San Lorenzo at troubled Gimnasia La Plata, while fifth-placed Colon charge on-song striker Federico Nieto with undoing his former employers Huracan. Reigning Clausura champions Velez Sarsfield, in sixth, will entertain a Godoy Cruz side seeking their first win in seven attempts.
High stakes: Racing and Atletico Tucuman, 19th and 16th respectively in the 20-team division, will do battle.
Players to watch: Diego Buonanotte and Eduardo Salvio, both skilful, diminutive aces, helped respective employers River Plate and Lanus climb to mid-table during the week, and they could have a big say in their duel at the Monumental.
Brasileirao: Derbies at both ends
Six rounds remain. Six sides have realistic title ambitions. And while four of these will be expected to win at home - Sao Paulo, Internacional, Cruzeiro and Flamengo host respective bottom-half sides Barueri, Botafogo, Fluminense and Santos - the task appears decidedly tougher for the remaining two.
Leaders Palmeiras, indeed, will entertain Corinthians in one of South America's fiercest derbies, while the Diego Tardelli-spearheaded Atletico Mineiro, in third, visit eighth-placed Goias.
High stakes: Much rests on the latest installment of O Clássico dos Clássicos: hosts Nautico are third-bottom, three points adrift of safety and two clear of their second-bottom arch-rivals Sport.
Players to watch: Obina hit a hat-trick in midweek to return Palmeiras to the summit. Will he win his shootout with his Corinthians counterpart Ronaldo?
American Major League Soccer: The road to the last four
Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo finished just a point apart in the regular season, and they played out a goalless draw in their first leg last night.
Reigning champions Columbus Crew, who cruised into the play-offs, entertain Real Salt Lake, while Chicago Fire host New England Revolution.
High stakes: Los Angeles Galaxy will have home advantage when their last-eight tie with local rivals Chivas USA kicks off.
Players to watch: The Galaxy will charge David Beckham and Landon Donovan with earning them a cushion to take to Chivas USA, whose hopes of a positive result rest abundantly on the shoulders of goalkeeper Zach Thornton.
Korean K-League: Final-day drama
The regular season will reach a dramatic climax on Sunday, when the last three places in the six-team play-offs will be claimed and either Jeonbuk Motors or FC Seoul will reach the overall final. The former have a two-point lead over the latter, along with a plus-four superior goal difference, but both face huge tests at home to Gyeongnam and Chunnam Dragons, who are clinging on to sixth and fifth places respectively.
Seongnam Chunma, in fourth, can make sure of a play-off place at home to rock-bottom Daegu, while seventh-placed Incheon United, level on points with Gyeongnam, are away to a Busan I'Park team with nothing other than pride to play for.
High stakes: While FC Seoul have one eye on finishing first and, thus, reaching the decider, they could yet miss out on a guaranteed spot in the semi-finals, which is what will transpire if they drop points and third-placed Pohang Steelers win at home to Suwon Bluewings.
Players to watch: All eyes will be on Jeonbuk attacker Lee Dong-Gook and his Gyeongnam counterpart Kim Dong-Chan in Jeonju.
South Africa Premiership: Soweto reclaims centre stage
Bidvest Wits' title charge has stuttered of late, with just two points from their last three outings plummeting them from first to fourth. Striker Calvin Kadi, 21, is determined to get their challenge back on track when table-topping Supersport United, his former club, travel to Johannesburg.
Ajax Cape Town, two points back in second, host mid-table Golden Arrows, while third-placed Santos visit troubled AmaZulu. Out-of-sorts Bloemfontein Celtic, meantime, will entrust Excellent Walaza and Prince Olomu with reviving their glory push at home to third-bottom Mpumalanga Black Aces.
High stakes: Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, fifth and seventh respectively, will engage in the country's biggest derby. And to intensify the occasion, the fixture will return to its inaugural stage, Soweto, for the first time in over two decades.
Players to watch: Andile Jali and Katlego Mashego will do their utmost to prevent the Pirates suffering a fourth successive defeat, which is what the Chiefs' fans hope Siphiwe Tshabalala and Kaizer Motaung Junior help inflict.
El Clasico Universitario will headline the regular season's penultimate round in the Chilean Clausura. Universidad Catolica require an away victory to guarantee top spot and a berth in the Copa Libertadores 2010, while Universidad de Chile desperately need three points as they cling on to the final play-off spot. Rangers and Union Espanola, both behind La U on goal difference, welcome sixth-placed Santiago Morning and Curico Unido, in 12th, respectively.
Australian A-League frontrunners Sydney FC will entertain a Wellington Phoenix side beaming from a 6-0 defeat of Gold Coast United, who, in third, will strive to respond at home to North Queensland Fury in a derby that will pit the competition's two leading marksmen, Shane Smeltz and Robbie Fowler, against one another. Elsewhere, Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory, second and fourth respectively, will square off.
The destiny of the Chinese Super League title is effectively in the control of Beijing Guoan heading into the final day. Hong Yuanshuo's side are level on points with Henan Jianye - with whom they have an identical head-to-head record - but a superior goal difference means the capital club will be crowned if they win at home to Hangzhou Lucheng, who, one point shy of safety, simply need a result. Henan visit another relegation-threatened team, namely Shenzhen, while Changchun Yatai will have to beat the already-demoted Chongqing Lifan in front of their own fans, and hope the top two drop points, if they are snatch the trophy.