World Leagues review
The weekend saw few surprises in USA and China as new seasons got underway. The Argentina Clausura continues to provide intrigue with several of the top teams dropping points, while in Brazil the various state championships are reaching a climax. The much-anticipated Chapin rivalry took place in Guatemala while FIFA.com also reviews action in Fiji, Uruguay, Morocco and India.
Argentinian Clausura: Leaders edge further ahead
Independiente extended their lead at the top to three points thanks to a 1-1 draw at Colon. Things appeared on track for Los Diablos Rojos when Lionel Nunez scored with a long-range effort inside ten minutes, but the hosts' veteran striker Esteban Fuertes soon ensured their defence was breached for the first time in six matches. Independiente finished the match with nine-men, while Colon also had a player dismissed.
Big game: Godoy Cruz, in second, suffered a 2-1 loss at third-placed Estudiantes. Mauro Boselli and Federico Fernández scored first-half goals for the reigning FIFA Club World Cup runners-up, before the visitors grabbed a late consolation.
Headline-grabber: Unheralded Chacarita Juniors stunned Boca Juniors 4-1 to leave the Buenos Aires giants just two positions from the bottom and now without a win in 11 away matches.
Brazilian State Championships: Pointy end of the campaign
Gremio overcame Esportivo 2-0 thanks to goals from William Magrao and Maylson, while Internacional lost to Caxias by the same scoreline in the Campeonato Gaucho. O Colorado's defeat was the reigning state champions’ sixth match without a win in all competitions.
Big game: Corinthians leapfrogged fierce rivals Sao Paulo with a remarkable 4-3 win to extend their unbeaten derby record to nine matches. Alex Silva scored an injury-time winner in a match which featured Roberto Carlos scoring with a trademark free-kick for O Timão.
Headline-grabber: In the absence of Robinho, attacking midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso proved the star turn as Santos routed Monte Azul 5-0. O Peixe, who had already secured a semi-final berth going into the game, have now scored 70 goals in 21 matches.
Major League Soccer: Off and running
Fresh from a successful stint at Everton, Landon Donovan helped Los Angeles Galaxy kick-off their season with a 1-0 home victory over New England Revolution. The USA international set up the winner with his free-kick headed home by a diving Edson Buddle. The Galaxy's Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake kept pace with a 3-0 triumph away to San Jose Earthquakes, while Kansas City Wizards thumped DC United 4-0 thanks to a goal and an assist from former Southampton and Crystal Palace 23-year-old Ryan Smith.
Big game: New York Red Bulls opened their new stadium in style with a quality winner from new signing Joel Lindpere in a 1-0 triumph over Chicago Fire. The Estonian midfielder pounced on a half-hearted clearance and sent the home support into raptures with a flashing shot from the edge of the box. Earlier, Brian McBride had seen his audacious bicycle kick from the edge of the area cannon off the post for Chicago.
Headline-grabber: Seattle hosted the new MLS team from Philadelphia on the opening day of the season, and last year's newcomer of the year Fredy Montero was again the star of the show. The Colombian forward set up in the opener and scored a diving header in the rain to welcome the 16th MLS club to the action with a 2-0 defeat
Chinese Super League: Favourites begin with a bang
Despite each suffering defeat in midweek AFC Champions League action, the traditional big guns commenced their 2010 seasons brightly, with defending champions Beijing Guoan, Shandong Luneng and Henan Jianye all coasting to victory. The only team from last year's top four to drop points were Changchun Yatai, who were held to a goalless draw at home by newly promoted Liaoniong Hunyong.
Big game: Shandong brushed aside their 1-0 loss to Pohang Steelers to register a thrilling 4-2 home win over Hangzhou Lucheng. Midfield livewire Wang Yongpo completed a brace as the three-time winners got off to a flying start.
Headline-grabber: Having scored twice to steer Beijing Guoan to two victories in the AFC Champions League, Australian forward Joel Griffiths continued his prolific form by opening the scoring after 57 minutes to help the capital club on their way to a 2-0 win.
In the Fijian National Football League, Labasa spurned the opportunity to put pressure on leaders Lautoka by drawing 2-2 against Nadroga in a catch-up match on Friday, before crashing 4-0 to Ba two days later. The win allowed 2008 champions Ba to move within three points of Lautoka, who didn’t feature in domestic action due to their OFC O-League commitments.
Penarol needed a last-minute winner to beat Defensor 3-2 and maintain a remarkable perfect record after ten matches in the Uruguayan Clausura. Having opened the scoring, Defensor’s Pablo Gaglianone went from hero to villain by turning the ball into his own net to allow Penarol to escape with all three points. Second-placed Fenix could only draw 1-1 at struggling Tacuarembo.
In the Guatamalan Liga Nacional, Comunicaciones came out on top of the nation’s biggest derby, El Clásico Chapin, defeating Municipal with Rolando Fonseca grabbing the only goal of the match ten minutes from time. Xelaju are second on goal difference after winning by the same scoreline over Heredia-Jaguares.
With seven rounds remaining, WAC Casablanca saw their lead in the Moroccan Botola cut two just three points after a battling 1-1 draw at mid-table HUS Agadir. Raja Casablanca narrowed the gap with a 3-2 win over struggling FUS Rabat
Indian I-League pacesetters Dempo left it late to record a 2-1 win at home to JCT Mills, with Mahindra United still two points adrift after beating third-placed Chirag United 1-0.