World Leagues review
Titles were decided in a number of the world’s leagues, with Brazil, Ecuador, Japan and Korea Republic all crowning new champions over the weekend. Elsewhere, the contests in Argentina, Chile and Mexico are all building towards exciting finales, while FIFA.com also reviews the action in Australia and Nigeria.
Brasileirao: Fla end long wait
Flamengo went into the final day of the season with their fate in their own hands in the knowledge that a win would seal the championship after a 17-year wait. Fla supporters at a packed Maracana were forced to endure further anxiety, with the match against Gremio tied at 1-1 until the Rio club secured a winner 20 minutes from time. Internacional had made Flamengo sweat right until the end by winning 4-1 over Santo Andre, sealing second on goal difference ahead of Sao Paulo, who overpowered Sport Recife 4-0.
Big game: Cruzeiro sneaked into fourth position and with it the final Copa Libertadores berth thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 win at Santos.
Headline-grabber: Ronaldo Angelim guaranteed a place in O Mengão folklore, the veteran centre-half scoring a rare and precious goal as teh title was secured.
Argentinian Apertura: Shock for leaders
The title hopes of in-form Newell's Old Boys were dealt a major blow after they suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Arsenal. With two rounds remaining, Banfield returned to the summit having bounced back from their first loss of the campaign a week earlier to edge past Huracan 1-0. In arguably the weekend's standout fixture, Independiente beat the struggling Boca Juniors 2-1 to claim their first victory at the Bombonera in 13 years.
Big game: Champions Velez Sarsfield stayed within five points of the frontrunners with a 3-1 home triumph over traditional heavyweights River Plate.
Headline-grabber: The league’s leading scorer Santiago Silva netted his 14th of the campaign, a goal that was enough to see leaders Banfield edge out Huracan.
Australian A-League: Victory denied a win
Reigning champions Melbourne Victory had their lead cut to three points after becoming the latest side to falter against New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix at their home fortress. All Whites midfielder Tim Brown opened the scoring, and although the Victory’s Rody Vargas equalised late on, the Phoenix were still able to extend their unbeaten home run to 14 matches. Sydney FC took advantage of the Victory’s slip with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Robbie Fowler’s North Queensland Fury to narrow the gap on the leaders.
Big game: Gold Coast United stayed in touch with the leading pack after scored a 2-1 comeback win against Central Coast Mariners, with the competition's leading marksman, Shane Smeltz, again on the scoresheet.
Headline-grabber: Sydney FC striker Alex Brosque helped himself to a double in his team’s home win against the Fury to further his claims for a South Africa 2010 berth following a recent Socceroos call-up.
Deportivo Quito claimed the Ecuadorian Serie A crown in dramatic circumstances with a winner three minutes from time from Michael Arroyo against Deportivo Cuenca. The goal ensured a 4-3 aggregate win for Quito after Cuenca had scored two goals in quick succession to draw level at 2-2 on the night prior to Arroyo grabbing the winner.
Colo Colo and Universidad Catolica clashed in the first leg of the Chilean Clausura, with a late goal from Hans Martinez ensuring a 2-2 draw for the visiting Catolica.
Kashima Antlers became the first club to secured a third consecutive J.League crown thanks to a 1-0 win over Urawa Red Diamonds. Shinzo Koroki’s second-half goal proved crucial as the Antlers maintained a two-point margin ahead of Kawasaki Frontale who won 3-2 at Kashiwa Reysol.
The title was also decided in the Korean K-League, where Jeonbuk Motors scored an emphatic 3-1 aggregate win over Seongnam Chunma following a scoreless first leg. Edinho scored a first-half double, with the league’s leading scorer Lee Dong-Gook adding a third from the penalty spot before the visitors earned a late consolation.
Enyimba took control at the top of the Nigerian Premier League thanks to a comfortable 4-0 home win against Ranchers Bees, in a round featuring six draws across the ten matches. Newly-promoted Kwara United sit one point off the pace after their 1-1 draw at Ocean Boys, while Kano Pillars are two points behind the leaders but with a match in hand.
The participants in the Mexican Apertura final have been determined with Monterrey, who had beaten Toluca 2-0 in the first leg, securing a 1-1 draw away from home. Following a scoreless first-leg, Cruz Azul came from behind against Monarcas to earn their third final appearance in the last four seasons.