World Leagues review
David Beckham’s first starting appearance for LA Galaxy in over six months was the only highlight for LA Galaxy as the long-standing leaders crashed at home against New York Red Bulls. Further south there was more bad news for the respective frontrunners in both Argentina and Brazil as the leadership changed hands once again. Conversely, Nagoya Grampus furthered their claim for a maiden J.League crown with a stunning win. Championships were decided in Côte d'Ivoire and Fiji, while FIFA.com also looks at the leagues of Mexico and Algeria in its weekly round-up of the action outside Europe.
Major League Soccer: Galaxy fall again despite Beckham influence
David Beckham was unable to inspire Los Angeles Galaxy who slipped to another defeat, this time 2-0 at home to New York Red Bulls. The revitalised visitors, who were missing injured forward Thierry Henry, scored through Dane Richards and a Juan Pablo Angel penalty to sit one point off the pace in the Eastern Conference, while the Galaxy still have a two-point buffer in the west.
Big game: Columbus Crew secured a play-offs berth and retained top spot ahead of New York with a 2-2 comeback draw at New England Revolution.
Headline-grabber: Chris Wondolowski scored a hat-trick as the San Jose Earthquakes won 3-2 against Toronto moving the 27-year-old to third on the scorers chart behind only Edson Buddle and Angel.
Argentinian Apertura: New leaders as summit remains congested
Velez Sarsfield moved to the top after cruising to a 3-0 victory over nine-man Olimpo. Previous leaders San Lorenzo came back to earth with a 2-0 loss at struggling Colon to sit two points off the pace. Moving into second are Estudiantes who secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over Boca Juniors with Faustino Rojo grabbing the all-important goal for the 2009 continental champions.
Big game: Buenos Aires giants River Plate missed the chance to move into the top three as bottom side Quilmes netted a late equaliser through Miguel Caneo after Mariano Pavone had volleyed home Ariel Ortega’s corner for Los Millonarios.
Headline-grabber: Velez Sarsfield claimed top spot with their crushing 3-0 victory over Olimpo. The 2009 Clausura champions went two goals to the good inside the opening half-hour through Juan Martinez and Maximiliano Morales with defender Sebastian Dominguez adding a third in the second half.
Brasileirao: Lead changes hands again
Corinthians surrendered top spot back to long-term pace-setters Fluminense after suffering a drama-charged 3-2 defeat at Internacional in a match in which both teams were reduced to ten men. The win saw Internacional move into fourth with a game in hand but they are still seven points off the pace. Fluminense, who have been stuttering in recent months, defeated Vitoria 2-1 with Rodriguinho grabbing the winner to secure a one point margin over Corinthians who also have a match in hand.
Big game: Cruzeiro missed the chance to move equal with Corinthians in second after a 4-1 defeat at Santos. Having won six of their last seven outings Cruzeiro capitulated under a second-half onslaught from O Peixe after the match was locked scoreless at the interval.
Headline-grabber: Former Brazil Under-20 international Kleber scored a brace as Palmeiras won 3-1 at Flamengo to stay in touch with the leading pack.
J.League: Frontrunners stretch lead
Nagoya Grampus extended their lead at the top of the J.League with a dominant display to see off former leaders Shimizu S-Pulse 5-1 at home. Keiji Tamada scored a second-half hat-trick to ensure a seven-point gap at the summit. Defending champions Kashima Antlers remain second despite only drawing 1-1 at mid-table Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Big game: Gamba Osaka moved into third thanks to a winner three minutes from full time via their Brazilian forward Lucas who fired home from long range. The 2-1 scoreline all but ending the title aspirations of home side Kawasaki Frontale.
Headline-grabber: Towering Australia forward Josh Kennedy scored a brace in Nagoya Grampus’ 5-1 win over Shimizu S-Pulse to take top spot on the J.League scorers’ chart with 13 goals.
Santos Laguna missed the chance to join Cruz Azul at the top of the Mexican Apertura after being defeated in a five-goal thriller at Club America. The 3-2 scoreline saw Cruz Azul remain sole leaders despite their surprise 2-1 defeat away to mid-table Necaxa. Monterrey maintained their unbeaten record but also missed the opportunity to go joint top with a scoreless draw against Queretaro.
Champions MC Alger commenced their Algerian Ligue 1 title defence with a surprise 1-0 defeat at MC El Eulma, while CAF Champions League semi-finalists JS Kabylie were made to work hard to record a 3-2 home victory over AS Khroub. JSM Bejaia are the early frontrunners following their comprehensive 4-1 home win against ASO Chlef.
Asec Mimosas claimed a second consecutive Ivorian Premier League title despite suffering a 2-1 defeat at mid-table Denguele Sport. The Abidjan club retained their crown with two rounds to spare as second-placed JCA were held 1-1 at home by ASC Ouragahio.
Ba claimed the Fijian National Football League championship with a 2-1 win against Southern Forest Navua to finish a point clear of reigning champions Lautoka, who had completed their fixtures prior to the final weekend. The western giants secured their first title in two years, and their sixteenth overall.