World Leagues review
FIFA.com brings you the highlights of an action-packed weekend on the global football scene, one which featured a defeat for Brazilian form side Santos, another reverse for struggling Boca Juniors and a record-equalling result in Uruguay.
Argentinian Clausura: Boca under pressure
Buenos Aires heavyweights Boca Juniors were handed a comprehensive 3-0 defeat by Tigre to make it seven leagues games without a win on Matchday 9. With just one victory so far this term, Los Xeneizes are in 17th place and in desperate need of a positive result in next Sunday’s superclásico with arch-rivals River Plate. Leaders Independiente won 1-0 at Chacarita Juniors to stay two and five points clear of closest chasers Godoy Cruz and Velez Sarsfield respectively.
Big game: River, for their part, bounced back from their loss to Argentinos Juniors last time out with a 2-0 home win over Huracan. Leonardo Astrada’s Millonarios thus moved up to 11th spot and took their Clausura tally to 12 points.
Headline-grabber: Running the Boca defence ragged throughout Sunday’s game was Tigre striker Carlos Luna, whose hat-trick took him level with Martin Palermo atop of the scoring chart.
Brazilian state championships: Fiery clássicos abound
It was a game of two penalty-takers in Rio de Janeiro, with Adriano returning from injury to score the spot-kick which earned Flamengo a 1-0 victory over local rivals Vasco da Gama and maintained their 100 per cent start in the Taca Rio. Yet much of the credit must go to Fla keeper Bruno after he saved two penalties, both taken by veteran forward Dodo.
Big game: On their Vila Belmiro home patch and buoyed by last week’s 10-0 demolition of Naviraiense, Santos raced into a 2-0 lead against Palmeiras only to eventually go down 4-3 in a thrilling Paulista clássico.
Headline-grabber: Staying in the Paulista, Corinthians’ 2-1 victory over Santo Andre included the club’s 10,000 goal, scored by forward Dentinho. The game also featured Roberto Carlos’s first goal for O Timão via a shot from outside the box, while his fellow ex-Brazil star Ronaldo also caught the eye.
Uruguayan Clausura: Penarol racing clear
Thanks to a 2-0 success over Central Espanol, Penarol continued their fine start with an eighth win from eight games, thus equalling a national record set back in 1999. Boasting 24 points already, the pacesetters have a five-point cushion over closest rivals Fenix.
Big game: A depleted Racing de Montevideo beat Wanderers 2-1 to round off a superb few days, having also downed Paraguay’s Cerro Porteno in midweek to move into second spot in Group 1 of the Copa Libertadores.
Headline-grabber: In red-hot form for leaders Penarol is former Inter Milan forward Antonio Pacheco, whose 12 goals from eight league appearances has him five clear of his nearest challenger on the scoring chart.
Japanese J.League: Fast starters
After two rounds of the new season, only two sides can still point to 100 per cent records. One of these is newly promoted Vegalta Sendai, last year’s second-tier champions, who won 3-1 against Omiya Ardija.
Big game: Kawasaki Frontale also made it two wins from two after an impressive 3-2 victory on their visit to Nagoya Grampus Eight, thanks to an early strike by Brazilian forward Renatinho and a brace from Tae Se Chong.
Headline-grabber: Roared on by over 50,000 fans, Urawa Red Diamonds bounced back from their opening-game defeat by Kashima Antlers to record a 1-0 win over FC Tokyo. The Kashima outfit, champions for the last three seasons, were held 1-1 away to Kyoto Purple Sanga.
Melbourne Victory now know who they will face in the Grand Final of the Australian A-League after Sydney FC stormed to a 4-2 success over preliminary final opponents Wellington Phoenix. The title decider is due to take place next Saturday.
Over in the Qatari Stars League, it was a good week for the league’s Brazilian stars. Former Lyon and Vasco da Gama set-piece magician Juninho Pernambucano scored twice, and compatriot Araujo grabbed another, in Al Gharafa’s 4-1 win over Al Wakra. The victory took the defending champions on to 49 points, two clear of Al Sadd, who beat Al Siliya 2-1. Also catching the eye was Magno Alves, whose double in Umm Salal’s 3-3 draw with Al Khritiyat took his tally for the campaign to 11.
Finally to the Korean Republic K-League, where reigning champions Jeonbuk Motors won 1-0 at FC Seoul to go a point clear at the top. However, closest pursuers Seongnam Chunma have played one game fewer and made it two wins from two with a thumping 6-0 rout of previously unbeaten Incheon United.