Americas Leagues review
Though it was a busy weekend of international action across the world, there was still plenty going on in the leagues of North and South America, with important games taking place in Argentina, the USA and Brazil, where a certain goalscoring keeper stole the show. FIFA.com rounds up all the latest league news from the Americas in its weekly review
Brazilian state championships: Century for Ceni
Sao Paulo fans had a day to remember on Sunday when their heroes ended a four-year winless run against Corinthians in historic style. The man making the news was none other than goalscoring custodian Rogerio Ceni, who secured his side’s 2-1 win by converting a second-half free-kick, his 100th goal for the club, a tally that includes two goals in unofficial friendlies.
“When you go out on the pitch you don’t think about things like that (scoring his 100th goal),” said the understandably elated keeper afterwards. “But it happened in just the way that I wanted it to, from a free-kick, which also proved to be the winner in an important game for us.” Now tied on 34 points with Corinthians and Santos, Sao Paulo are just a point adrift of Palmeiras, who stayed top after easing to a 3-0 defeat of Bragantino.
Big game: The Minas Gerais clássico between Cruzeiro and America produced plenty of excitement, with both sides taking the lead either side of half-time before Walter Montillo blasted home four minutes from the end to give A Raposa a 3-2 win and a four-point advantage in the standings.
Headline-grabber: The big guns in Rio de Janeiro are not having things all their own way in the Taca Rio. Vasco da Gama and Fluminense played out a goalless draw in their derby meeting to leave Vasco joint top of Group A on ten points with Boavista and Americano, while Flamengo stumbled in their bid to hit the top when they drew 3-3 with Madureira. Flu’s stalemate with Vasco left them third in Group B, behind Botafogo and surprise leaders Olaria.
Argentinian Clausura: No shifting Estudiantes
Estudiantes ensured they would hang on to the leadership for at least another week when they eased past All Boys 3-0. San Lorenzo made light of a number of international absentees to move into second, just two points behind El Pincha. Despite missing the Paraguayan duo of Nestor Ortigoza and Aureliano Torres and the Peruvian Giancarlo Carmona, El Ciclón edged past season revelations Olimpo 1-0, Juan Manuel Salgueiro the goalscorer. San Lorenzo can take to the top if they win their game in hand against Velez Sarsfield, who inched up to seventh courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Arsenal on Sunday.
Big game: Coming into the side to replace the injured Mariano Pavone, Leandro Caruso struck his first goals in 488 days, helping himself to a double as River Plate overcame Newell’s Old Boys 2-1. “That was a relief for me. I really needed those goals,” said Caruso, who last hit the back of the net when he was still at Velez Sarsfield. Goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo also played his part in a win that took Los Millonarios up to fourth, three points behind Estudiantes. Appearing in only his second game since returning from injury, Carrizo pulled off two vital stops with the score tied at 1-1.
Headline-grabber: The pressure was well and truly on struggling Boca Juniors when they travelled to Colon, and it showed in a scratchy performance lit up by Juan Roman Riquelme’s exquisite free-kick. Fortunately for Los Xeneizes, Riquelme’s strike proved enough to secure all three points and move them up to a still-unaccustomed 17th place.
American Major League Soccer: Galaxy come unstuck in Utah
2009 champions Real Salt Lake flexed their muscles on matchday 2, thrashing LA Galaxy 4-1 at home. Argentinian midfielder Javier Morales was the star of the show with two goals, with Andy Williams and Paulo Jr completing the scoring for the Utah side. The Galaxy’s consolation goal came from Juan Pablo Angel, and defeat leaves them two points behind the table-topping Real and Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference, having played one game more.
Big game: Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City served up a five-goal thriller on Saturday. After Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari had given the Fire a 2-0 half-time lead, Matt Besler struck to cut the deficit. Marco Pappa then restored the home side’s two-goal lead only for Teal Bunsbury to pull Kansas back into contention and set up a gripping finale. And though Chicago held on for three valuable points, they have plenty of room for improvement, as skipper Logan Pause confirmed afterwards: “We’re happy with the result, but not with the performance. We’re disappointed with the goals we let in.”
Headline-grabber: Philadelphia Union have made an unexpectedly good start to the season, Carlos Ruiz making it two wins out of two for them with the only goal of the game against Vancouver Whitecaps. Union are the only team in the Eastern Conference yet to drop a point.
In Chile Americo Gallego’s unbeaten record as Colo Colo coach came to an end when his side were defeated 2-1 at home by Huachipato, a result that leaves them 13th in the table, well adrift of the top eight and the play-off places. Over in Paraguay Olimpia stayed out front after coming from behind to beat 3 de Febrero 3-1, while Nacional downed Cerro Porteno 2-0 to stay five points adrift, albeit with a game in hand. Once Caldas stretched their lead in Colombia to eight points by defeating closest challengers Atletico Nacional 3-1 at the Manizales.