World Leagues review
The premiership was decided in Australia while there were pivotal top of the table match-ups in United Arab Emirates and South Africa. The various Brazilian state championships are on the verge of typically dramatic conclusions while FIFA.com also takes a look at the action in Tunisia and Ecuador.
Brazilian state championships: Late relief for Santos
Robinho’s Santos regained top spot in the Campeonato Paulista with a last-gasp 2-1 win over struggling Rio Claro. Behind with 11 minutes remaining, Santos equalised through Andre before veteran midfielder Giovanni scored the winner following a Neymar assist.
Cruzeiro beat Caldense 2-1 in the Campeonato Mineiro, despite losing Wellington Paulista to a red card, while extreme heat hindered players in the Campeonato Gaucho, where Gremio secured a 2-1 victory at Sao Jose and Internacional won by the same scoreline against Esportivo - results good enough to send the Porto Alegre arch-rivals into the second phase.
Big game: Vasco needed penalties to defeat Fluminense and reach the final of the Taca Guanabara, where they will meet the winners of the Flamengo-Botafogo tie.
Headline-grabber: Veteran goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni scored the 87th goal of his career with a first-half penalty as fifth-placed Sao Paulo beat Ituano 1-0 to improve their hopes of making the Campeonato Paulista semi-finals.
UAE League: Al Wahda win derby, stride clear
All eyes were on Abu Dhabi for the derby between the top two, Al Jazira and Al Wahda. It was the in-form Al Wahda who triumphed 2-1 to claim their tenth win on the trot in all competitions and move three points clear of their rivals.
Big game: Former Asian champions Al Ain continue to hold down third place after defeating bottom side Ajman 5-4. Prolific Argentinian striker Jose Sand continued his stunning recent goal return with a brace that included the winner.
Headline-grabber: Former Brazil U-20 striker Fernando Baiano proved the hero for Al Wahda, scoring either side of Soubait Khater’s goal to deal a painful blow to the club he departed last year.
South African Premiership: Sundowns trip up
Second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns could not break down Santos in a goalless draw and were left two points behind SuperSport United at the summit. With just three rounds of matches left, Hristo Stoichkov's team are struggling to prevent SuperSport from winning their third consecutive league title.
Big game: The Sundowns were strangely subdued against Santos, and it wasn’t until Bonginkosi Macala was sent off just after the hour mark that they looked threatening. However, fifth-place Santos had the best chance of the match against the run of play, when Mogogi Gabonamangi cracked a long shot off the woodwork nine minutes from time.
Headline-grabber: Last season's fourth-placed finishers Free State Stars climbed out of the relegation danger zone with Saturday’s emphatic 3-0 away win over Platinum Stars. Manti Moholo was man of the hour thanks to a second-half double which helped the team move on to 30 points, six clear of current relegation play-off side Black Aces.
Sydney FC claimed their inaugural Australian A-League Premiership crown with a 2-0 home win over Melbourne Victory. Slovak international Karol Kisel and Australian 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ hero John Aloisi grabbed the all-important goals, which also secured the club a berth in the AFC Champions League 2011. Victory were relegated to second but will still have a double chance in the finals series, while Gold Coast United finished third after a 2-1 defeat at Robbie Fowler’s North Queensland Fury.
Big guns CS Sfaxien finally ended a winless streak dating back to November with a hard-fought 2-1 home triumph over Olympique Beja in the Tunisian Ligue 1. Etoile Sportive failed to take advantage of the absence of Esperance and Club Africain, both of whom were on CAF Champions League duty. The eight-time Tunisian champions needed a goal seven minutes from full time, via Ahmed Akaïchi, just to earn a share of the points against the visiting ES Zarziz and move to third.
In the Ecuadorian Serie A, Barcelona are the only team with a 100 per cent record after two rounds following a 2-0 win over Macara, which was indebted to second-half strikes from Luis Bolanos and Juan Samudio. Copa Sudamericana champions Liga de Quito bounced back from an opening-day draw to overpower Independiente del Valle 3-0.