Boca roll on, Sao Paulo defeated again
In Argentina, defending champions Boca Juniors extended their unbeaten league run to 30 games, while in Brazil, Palmeiras hit the front in the Paulista Championship, where Corinthians beat city rivals Sao Paulo for the sixth successive time. In Mexico, meanwhile, Apertura champions Tigres and runners-up Santos Laguna continue to lead the way six games into the Clausura. FIFA.com rounds up those stories and more in its weekly review of the top leagues across the Americas.
Argentinian Clausura: Can anyone beat Boca?
In the opening round of Clausura fixtures this weekend, Boca Juniors extended their unbeaten league run to 30 games with a 2-0 win over Olimpo – Dario Cvitanich and Pablo Mouche finding the target for the defending champions. Others who kicked off the new campaign with a win included Lanus, Atletico Rafaela and San Martin de San Juan. In contrast, three of the country’s more storied clubs, San Lorenzo, Independiente and Racing, where Alfio Basile is enjoying his fourth spell at coach, all failed to get three points on the board. For San Lorenzo, a 4-1 reverse at the hands of Lanus was particularly worrying as it left them firmly in the three-season averaged relegation zone and invited comparisons with fallen giants River Plate, who lost their top-flight status after last season’s Clausura.
Mexican Clausura: Tigres keep their grip
Reigning champions Tigres continued their fine early-season form with a 2-0 away win against San Luis. The result put them top on goal-difference from the team they beat in the last Apertura final, Santos Laguna, who slipped to a 3-1 reverse against Morelia. Setting the pace with 13 points apiece after six games, the pair look intent on proving that last year’s success was no fluke. At the other end of the spectrum, Guadalajara’s dismal start to the campaign continued with a 2-0 reverse at Monterrey that left them with just one point from six games. Nor can the other two top-flight clubs from Guadalajara, Atlas and Estudiantes Tecos, provide much consolation, with the pair both enduring poor starts to the season and facing a battle to stave off relegation.
Brazilian State Championships: Classic confrontations
This weekend’s action in the state championships featured several historic rivalries and no shortage of drama. In the Paulista tournament, Corinthians beat Sao Paulo 1-0 in torrential rain for their sixth consecutive triumph in the Clássico Majestoso. The result was also good news for Palmeiras, who won the day before and now top the standings having gone unbeaten in their opening seven games and won their last four. In the Carioca Championship, meanwhile, Fluminense lost 2-1 to Vasco da Gama despite going ahead through a Thiago Neves strike. The result leaves Flu without a win against one of their fiercest rivals since November 2010. Elsewhere, Flamengo defeated lowly Nova Iguacu 2-0 on a day when striker Vagner Love made his first appearance since returning to Fla in a permanent deal last month. In another of the weekend’s clássicos, Bahia, now under the stewardship of Paulo Roberto Falcao, drew with arch-rivals Vitoria, where former team-mate and close friend Toninho Cerezo is at the helm. Unfortunately, the 0-0 stalemate failed to do justice to the reputations of the two former Seleção legends.
Paraguayan Apertura: Olimpia-Cerro Mark 2
In the second round of games in Paraguay, 2011 Clausura champions Olimpia dropped their first points of the campaign after a goalless draw with Cerro Porteno. This was not the latest instalment in the country’s superclásico, but the meeting of Olimpia and Cerro Porteno Presidente Franco, who hail from the city in eastern Paraguay of the same name. Winners of last season’s Division Intermedia, El Ciclon del Este performed admirably against the champions in what is their first season of top-flight football. Also of note this weekend was Sol de America’s emphatic 4-2 defeat of Independiente de Campo Grande, a result that has given them an early lead in the standings.
In the second round of games in Ecuador, LDU de Quito made it two wins from two with a 5-0 rout of Olmedo. Helping himself to a hat-trick was veteran Argentinian and club idol Claudio Bieler, whose goals played a key role in securing the 2008 Copa Libertadores and 2009 Copa Sudamericana for the capital side. Finally to Venezuela, where leaders Deportivo Lara made it four wins from four with a 2-1 home triumph over Monagas.