World Leagues review
A new leader emerged in Argentina as Ronaldo helped blow the title race wide open in Brazil, while China PR crowned champions, the regular season reached a dramatic conclusion in Korea Republic and the play-offs got underway in the USA. With crucial derbies in Australia, Chile and South Africa, FIFA.com reflects on the latest developments outside Europe.
Argentinian Apertura: Velez fly high as giants stumble
Velez Sarsfield assumed pole position - at least until Estudiantes, Banfield and Newell's Old Boys play on Monday evening - with a 2-0 win over Godoy Cruz. San Lorenzo would have finished the weekend on top had it not been for Ruben Maldonado, whose injury-time equaliser grabbed Gimnasia La Plata a 2-2 draw.
Rosario Central beat Boca Juniors 2-1 to leap above their guests and into ninth, while a lone goal from Maximiliano Velazquez rewarded mid-table Lanus with victory at struggling River Plate.
High stakes: Racing achieved their first victory of the season emphatically, a 4-0 reverse of Atletico Tucuman lifting La Academia to third-bottom, one place and point beneath their opponents.
Headline-grabber: Pablo Luguercio was Racing's stand-out performer, scoring one and setting up another in Avellaneda.
Brasileirao: Germany 2006 strikers excel
Ten-man Palmeiras eked out 2-2 draw at home to arch-rivals Corinthians to retain the leadership by a thread. Goalkeeper Marcos was dismissed for O Verdão, and his replacement Bruno was beaten twice by Ronaldo. However, headed equalisers from defenders Danilo and Mauricio earned Muricy Ramalho's team a point that kept them above Sao Paulo, 1-0 winners over Barueri, on goal difference.
Atletico Mineiro triumphed 3-2 at Goias to move two points off the pace, while Flamengo are a further two points back after Adriano's solitary header earned them a victory over Santos - in front of over 80,000 at the Maracana - that was indebted to two penalty saves from Bruno.
High stakes: Nautico edged Sports in O Clássico dos Clássicos to raise their survival chances and plummet their bitter enemies to the foot of the table.
Headline-grabber: Fluminense went in at half-time at a two-goal deficit against Cruzeiro, but two goals from Fred helped O Tricolor Carioca to a 3-2 victory that moved them off the bottom and left their hosts seven points off the pace.
American Major League Soccer: All to play for
The race for places in the last four is wide open, after the first legs produced two draws and two narrow home victories. Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo got the play-offs rolling with a 0-0 draw on Thursday, and another goalless stalemate appeared on the cards between Real Salt Lake and Columbus Crew. That was until the 88th minute, when RSL's Robbie Findley slid in to poke home the only goal.
New England Revolution then came from behind to edge Chicago Fire 2-1.
High stakes: Los Angeles Galaxy drew 2-2 at local rivals Chivas USA and will have home advantage when their second leg kicks off next Sunday.
Headline-grabber: It may have been the scrappiest goal of the Revolution's season, but Shalrie Joseph's 75th-minute winner was also his side's most important of the campaign.
Korea K-League: Motors, Steelers and United celebrate
The regular season reached an enthralling conclusion on Sunday, when Jeonbuk Motors secured top spot, Pohang Steelers pipped FC Seoul to second, and the aforementioned trio were joined in the play-offs by Seongnam Chunma, Incheon United and Chunnam Dragons.
Two-goal Lee Dong Gook thrust the Motors to a 4-2 defeat of Gyeongnam, who, sixth at the start of play, were overtaken by an Incheon side that won 1-0 at Busan I'Park. FC Seoul were just seconds away from finishing second, which would have sent them into the play-off semi-finals and the AFC Champions League 2010. However, they conceded an 11th-hour equaliser to visiting Chunnam Dragons that allowed Pohang Steelers, 1-0 winners at home to Suwon Bluewings, to seize the runners-up position.
High stakes: Seongnam Chunma made sure of qualification for the play-offs in style, Mauricio Molina's double helping them to a 3-0 reverse of Daegu.
Headline-grabber: As it transpired, Chunnam Dragons did not require Jung Yoon-Seong's last-gasp leveller to reach the play-offs. However, Pohang Steelers certainly needed it.
South Africa Premiership: Supersport extend lead
A masterful performance from goalkeeper Emile Baron helped Supersport United win 2-1 at Bidvest Wits and extend their advantage at the summit to three points. Ajax Cape Town were held to a goalless draw at home to Golden Arrows and, consequently, relinquished second place to Santos, who beat AmaZulu 2-0 on their travels.
Bloemfontein Celtic left it late against struggling Mpumalanga Black Aces, but last-15-minute goals from Cecil Oerson and Prince Olomu proved enough for a 2-0 victory that elevated them to fourth, while Mamelodi Sundowns climbed to sixth thanks to a 3-1 reverse of rock-bottom Jomo Cosmos.
High stakes: A Soweto derby of few chances ended in a goalless draw, leaving Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates eighth and fifth respectively.
Headline-grabber: Erwin Isaacs edged Santos in front with a sumptuous chip, before sealing victory following a delightful team move.
A Mark Bridge double thrust Sydney FC to a 3-1 win at home to Wellington Phoenix that kept them one point above Melbourne Victory, for whom Carlos Hernandez struck the deciding goal in a 2-1 win at Perth Glory, at the Australian A-League summit. Third-placed Gold Coast United fell five points off the pace, a second-half Robbie Fowler brace earning North Queensland Fury a 2-0 success.
Emil Martinez had drawn three blanks since his stoppage-time equaliser snatched Beijing Guoan a point at Henan Jianye that helped them go into the final day of the Chinese Super League above the latter on goal difference. The Honduran returned to the scoresheet emphatically against Hangzhou Lucheng on Saturday, though, scoring thrice in a 4-0 victory that, in front of over 60,000 euphoric fans, made Beijing the sixth team to seize the trophy. Henan lost 3-1 away to Shenzhen and were pipped to second place by Changchun Yatai, who beat Chongqing Lifan 3-2.
Universidad Catolica survived a late onslaught at Universidad de Chile to win El Clasico Universitario 3-2 in the penultimate round of the regular season in the Chilean Apertura, guaranteeing themselves a first-placed finish and a berth in the Copa Libertadores 2010 in the process. La U duly dropped out of the play-off positions.