Titles and pride at stake
Every weekend, there is a wealth of competitive action in league championships right across the globe, just as every weekend FIFA.com is on hand to preview the best of the action from them. This week, our focus shifts to the difficult away games facing the leaders in Argentina and Mexico, and the climax to the Taca Rio in Brazil.
Argentinian Clausura: Testing away-days for top
Leaders and still-unbeaten River Plate face a testing trip to Rosario Central, themselves in dire need of points after a three-game winless streak. Los Millonarios will also be keeping an eye on events in Victoria on Matchday 11, when Tigre welcome second-placed Estudiantes in a showdown between two of this season's top sides.
The big game: With just two weeks to go before the
Superclásico, Boca Juniors host Newell's Old Boys. The
visitors can be expected to provide stern opposition, battling as
they are to maintain their top-flight status and secure a berth in
the cup competitions.
Player to watch: River Plate goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo is now unbeaten for 568 minutes. Can he add another 90 to that this weekend and move a step closer to the 789 achieved by Amadeo Carrizo in 1968?
Brazilian State Championships: The grand finale in Rio
After ten weeks of thrilling action, the Taca Rio reaches its climax this Sunday with the meeting between Fluminense and Botafogo. As appropriate, the eagerly awaited deciding match will grace the Estadio Maracana and decide who will go forward to take on Taca Guanabara winners Flamengo over two legs in the overall final of the Carioca State Championship.
The big match: In the Paulista State Championship,
Palmeiras and Sao Paulo play their semi-final, second leg, with the
latter slight favourites thanks to their 2-1 first-leg success. The
victors will face the winners of Ponte Preta and Guaratingueta in
Players to watch: Not to be missed during Sunday's Taca Rio final is the showdown between Botafogo stars Wellington Paulista and Lucio Flavio, and Fluminense's top guns Washington and Thiago Neves.
Mexican Clausura: Tests await
Chivas and San Luis
Buoyed by their thrilling win over America last week, overall leaders Guadalajara face another stern challenge with a trip to Monterrey on Matchday 15. Competing for the attention of the press and public will be the visit of second-placed San Luis to Morelia to face Monarcas, especially after the Tribu Real could only manage a draw against Tecos on their previous outing.
The big match: With the club in deep crisis,
America know a win against Atlante is imperative if they are to
begin their ascent from the bottom of the table. The situation is
all the more incredible given that the Mexican giants just booked
their place in the knockout phase of the Copa Libertadores.
Player to watch: As he has shown with his ten goals this season for Monterrey, Chile's Humberto Suazo is enjoying a new lease of life and will be hoping to continue his goalscoring spree against Guadalajara.
Tunisian Ligue 1: Top spot up for grabs
Etoile Sahel and Club Africain, two of Tunisia's leading sides, renew their classic rivalry this weekend with no less a prize on offer than top spot in Ligue 1. Etoile, who represented Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2007, currently hold pole position on 52 points, with Abdelhak Ben Chikha's men two points further back. With just five games to go, a win could prove decisive to both side's title aspirations.
The big game: Third-place Esperance will be hoping
the leaders can take points off each other, allowing them to reduce
the gap at the top when they welcome mid-table side Monastir.
Player to watch: The Etoile-Africain showdown will provide the perfect opportunity to compare two of the top marksmen in Ligue 1, with Etoile's Wissem Yahia and his rivals Mehdi Ben Dheifalla expected to provide thrills aplenty.
In Japan, the J.League serves up a mouth-watering clash between Kashima Antlers and Gamba Osaka, with the meeting of the tournament's top two scorers - Antlers ace Marquinhos and Gamba's Bare - an added attraction. In Bolivia, meanwhile, there is also an enticing showdown to look forward to as the league's top two, Universitario Sucre and Oriente Petrolero, square off.
Last but not least, fans of New Zealand football will not want to miss the climax to their season when regular season victors Waitakere United take on play-off winners Team Wellington in the overall final.