Home runs and Lanus's lead
In its weekly roundup of the top league action across the Americas, FIFA.com focuses on two players making vital contributions to their teams in Argentina, the start of the Clausura in Uruguay and some noteworthy sequences in Mexico. In Brazil, meanwhile, a combination of football and Carnival made for a veritable party weekend.
Mexican Clausura: notable home runs
Seventh-placed America, who had not won a home game for six months, finally ended that ignominious sequence yesterday by beating Pachuca, the team directly above them in the standings. The only goal of the game from Christian Benitez prevented their opponents from taking possession of top spot, still held by defending champions Tigres, who extended their unbeaten home run with a 0-0 draw against 12th-placed Atlas. Los Felinos were last defeated in Nueva Leon on 29 January 2011.
Guadalajara, in contrast, are still searching for their first win of the campaign, where they remain rooted to the foot of the table after two draws and five defeats. On Saturday they could only manage a scoreless draw with Real San Luis, failing to add to their paltry tally of two goals this season, the lowest return of any side.
Argentinian Clausura: Pavone heaps pain on Independiente
Lanus are the early leaders in Argentina after taking maximum points from their opening two games. Yesterday the three points came courtesy of an 87th-minute strike by Mariano Pavone, who is making a habit of scoring late winners against Independiente. The striker netted the only goal of the game when his former side River Plate came up against the Avellaneda outfit in the 2011 Clausura, then repeated the feat with Lanus in the recent Apertura.
San Lorenzo are still searching for their first win of the campaign and remain mired in the three-season averaged relegation zone. Estudiantes looked liked handing them a second straight defeat when Christian Cellay put the La Plata side ahead on Sunday, but El Ciclón salvaged a point through a Nestor Ortigoza penalty. The naturalised Paraguayan midfielder has scored all 18 of the penalties he has taken in the Argentinian top flight with San Lorenzo and previous club Argentinos Juniors.
Brazilian State Championships: Fiesta and football
Despite Carnaval festivities being in full swing, it was business as usual in state championships this weekend. In Rio de Janeiro, the semi-final line-up for the Taca Guanabara is now complete, with Fluminense set to face Botofogo and Flamengo drawing Vasco. Elsewhere, the Taca Piratini has reached the quarter-final stage in Rio Grande do Sul, where the classic Gremio-Internacional rivalry is set to be renewed in the pick of the last-eight ties.
Meanwhile in the Campeonato Paranaense, Atletico-PR suffered their first defeat of the season after going down 2-1 to Arapongas in round nine. Third-placed Cianorte, who drew 0-0 at the weekend with Corinthians Paranaense, will have the chance to overtake O Furacão at the summit in mid-week.
Uruguayan Clausura: up and running
Cerro went top after day one courtesy of a 4-1 win away to Cerrito and now lead on goal difference from the four other opening-day winners: Defensor, El Tanque Sisley, Nacional and Liverpool.
Defending champions Nacional ran out 3-2 winners over River Plate despite fielding a vastly changed side from the one that lost to Paraguay’s Libertad in the Copa Libertadores last week. El Bolso had veteran forward Alvaro Recoba to thank for an inspired performance that helped make up for that disappointment.
Meanwhile in Paraguay, Cerro Porteno beat their near-namesakes Cerro Porteno PF on Matchday 3 thanks to the only goal of the game by Argentinian striker Roberto Nanni. Sol de America remain out in front with maximum points after a 2-0 win over Club Rubio Nu.
Lastly to Chile, where Santiago Wanderers are the surprise early leaders on nine points following their defeat of Audax Italiano in round four. Just a point behind are Colo Colo, who got back to winning ways with a 3-1 triumph at home to Union La Calera.