Drama in Brazil, four remain in Mexico
Corinthians need only a draw in their final match to take the title in Brazil, but they can still be pipped by Vasco da Gama who have proved a dogged adversary all season long. Over in Argentina, Boca Juniors are just one point away from their 24th national crown while two Mexican favourites - Guadalajara and Cruz Azul - tumbled out of the play-offs. Join FIFA.com for a tour of all the weekend club action in the Americas.
Brazil: Photo finish for Corinthians, Vasco
Eager Corinthians thought they’d sealed the title on this, the penultimate weekend of the Brasileirao, but they were thwarted on the verge of glory by determined chasers Vasco da Gama, whose win against Fluminense means the 2011 title will be decided on the final matchday, next Sunday.
Liedson scored for Corinthians at Figueirense to secure a 1-0 win for the league leaders. Having started the day two points ahead of Vasco, the Corinthians’ players and fans remained after the final whistle awaiting news from the crucial Vasco contest. It looked like Timao would have plenty to celebrate, but Vasco’s Bernardo had other ideas and scored a dramatic late goal to seal a win and keep his side in the race for first place.
All will be known on what is bound to be a nervy final Sunday in the Brasileirao. Corinthians need only a draw against local rivals Palmeiras, while Vasco must beat Flamengo and hope that Corinthians lose.
Mexico: Favourites tumble in quarters
The weekend’s quarter-final play-offs in Mexico saw the lower seeds pull off major shocks and book their places in the semi-finals. Morelia put in a repeat performance of their first-leg 2-1 win to send Cruz Azul, who were wasteful in their finishing, out of the competition. In the other surprise result, Queretaro – who had hardly a chance on the Chivas goal – defended manfully to eliminate the Guadalajara giants thanks to the one-goal advantage they earned in the first leg.
Queretaro will now face Tigres, who must be considered favourites after the early exits of Chivas and Cruz Azul, while Morelia meet Santos in the other last-four series.
Argentina: Boca on the verge
Boca Juniors coach Julio César Falcioni made a point to bring in two players in particular at the start of the season: veteran defender Rolando Schiavi and striker Darío Cvitanich. The pair proved crucial at the weekend, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win away to Godoy Cruz in Mendoza. The win sees Los Xeneizes on the verge of lifting the Apertura title, needing just one point from their next three matches. Cvitanich, 27, on loan from Dutch side Ajax, opened the scoring in the first half and Schiavi – who won two national titles and five international crowns in a previous stint with the Buenos Aires giants – hit home from the spot.
Boca are now on the verge of their 24th Argentine crown. They are currently nine points ahead of Tigre, the only side to win at home in the round.
Despite lining up with several substitutes in preparation for the semi-finals of the Copa Sudamericana, undefeated Universidad de Chile managed a goalless draw with Audax Italiano to finish top of the regular phase of the 2011 Clausura in Chile. Both Universidad and Audax now move on to the play-off quarter-finals alongside Unión Española, Cobreloa, Unión La Calera, Colo Colo, La Serena and Universidad Católica. On the other side of the joy-pain divide, Ñublense and Santiago Morning find themselves relegated.
Over in Colombia, regular phase winners Junior join up with Once Caldas, Millonarios, Santa Fe, Envigado, Boyacá Chicó and América in the play-off quarter-finals. Atlético Nacional, who won the 2011 Apertura, failed to reach the top-eight after a crushing loss to Itagüí, and fellow big boys Independiente Medellín and Deportivo Cali join them in hoping for better luck next time.
Nacional are two points ahead of Penarol in Uruguay, with the latter strolling to a 4-1 win over Rampla Juniors, Marcelo Zalayeta scoring a pair of goals in the big win. Alexander Medina also bagged a brace as Nacional kept pace with a 3-1 result over Montevideo Wanderers.