World Leagues review
It was a record-breaking weekend for Mexican football, while in Brazil it was the turn of a rising star to eclipse two of the country’s biggest names. There were title celebrations in Malawi, meanwhile, and in Argentina there continues to be little to choose at the summit. FIFA.com reviews the pick of the weekend's action from outside Europe.
Argentinian Clausura: Unbeaten duo take pole
There continues to be joint-leaders six games into the campaign. Godoy Cruz’s 2-1 win over Argentinos Juniors took them past Velez Sarsfield, beaten 3-2 away by Huracan, and level on points with Colon, who drew 1-1 with Rosario Central. The top two are the only unbeaten sides.
Big game: Boca Juniors and Estudiantes shared the spoils in a game which left El Pincha just two points behind the leaders. Los Xeneizes took the lead via a penalty from the Clausura's leading marksman, Martin Palermo, whose fifth strike of the campaign took him to within a goal of Roberto Cherro as Boca’s all-time top scorer.
Headline-grabbers: Gustavo Canales’s first goal in a River Plate shirt came in the final minute of their fixture with Gimnasia La Plata, thus salvaging a draw for the free-falling Millonarios. Gimnasia, for their part, remain in the drop zone along with Atletico Tucuman, but their survival hopes will be buoyed by a run of three games without defeat.
Brazilian state championships: Veterans upstaged
Santos stayed top of the Campeonato Paulista after a 2-1 victory over Corinthians, with Santo Andre their closest pursuers following a 2-0 reverse of Portuguesa. Sao Paulo, meanwhile, bounced back from recent defeats by Palmeiras and Colombian side Once Caldas to record a 5-1 thrashing of Monte Azul in which Fernandinho scored four times on his debut. And catching the eye in the Taca Rio were Fluminense, who subjected Friburguense to a 5-1 mauling.
Big game: One of the hottest new talents in the Brazilian game, Santos’s Neymar outshone veteran performers Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos of Corinthians with a goal and an assist. The 18-year-old made light of a missed penalty to open the scoring in the 33rd minute and set up Andre for O Peixe’s second, with O Timão reducing the deficit after Ronaldo fed strike partner Dentinho.
Headline-grabbers: Gremio were made to sweat for their triumph in the Taca Fernando Carvalho, overcoming Novo Hamburgo thanks to a solitary goal from Ferdinando.
Mexican Bicentenario: Chivas still flying
Guadalajara extended their remarkable winning start to the season and preserved their five-point lead in the overall standings over Monterrey, who won 1-0 at Atlante.
Big game: There were two contrasting landmarks set in Toluca’s 3-0 victory over Indios Juarez, who have now gone a historic 25 league matches without a win spanning this year’s Bicentenario and the Apertura 2009. Toluca, for their part, are now undefeated in 25 matches at home, beating a record that had dated back to 1967/68 under former Mexico coach Ignacio Trelles.
Headline-grabbers: Chivas of Guadalajara made it a record-breaking eighth consecutive win since the start of the season with a 2-0 success over San Luis, the goals coming from Adolfo Bautista and Hector Reynoso. The victory took them beyond the seven-game mark they had jointly held with the now-defunct club Marte, set back in 1928 well before Mexico’s professional era began in 1943.
Korean K-league: Promising starts
Matchday 1 ended with FC Seoul sitting atop the standings after a 5-2 humbling of Daejeon Citizen. In second place are Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, who picked up a 3-0 home win over Gangwon.
Big game: Reigning champions Jeonbuk Motors kicked off their title defence with an impressive 3-1 comeback success over Suwon Bluewings. After Cho Won-Hee had put the visitors ahead in just the fourth minute, the holders turned the scoreline on its head via an Edinho double and Kruno Lovrek’s last-minute effort.
Headline-grabbers: Nearly half the 20 goals scored this matchday had a Latin flavour, with four fired by Brazilians Eninho (2), Adilson and Fabricio, three from Colombia’s Mauricio Molina (2) and Juan Estiven Velez and a further brace from the Portuguese Ricardo Esteves dos Santos.
Silver Strikers successfully retained their title in Malawi’s Super League, despite only drawing 2-2 in their final league game against MTL Wanderers. The point proved enough to keep the Strikers clear of closest challengers Escom United, who won 1-0 away to Moyale Barracks.
Enyimba, 1-0 winners at Lobi Stars, remain a point ahead at the top of the standings in Nigeria, though nearest pursuers Kwara United stayed hot on their heels after a 2-0 victory over struggling Gateway.
Finally to New Zealand, where a 1-1 draw away to second-bottom YoungHeart Manawatu cost Auckland City top spot in the standings. Now leading the race by a point after their 4-1 victory over Hawkes Bay United are Waitakere United, though they have played two games more than their Auckland rivals.