Leads extended and maiden prizes
On a weekend that saw first-time champions crowned in Colombia and Bolivia, Flamengo, New England Revolution and Urawa Red Diamonds, respective leaders in Brazil, the USA and Japan, all won to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack. As ever, FIFA.com is on hand to bring you the pick of the action from some of the world's top leagues.
Brasileiro: Fla power on
The results from Matchday 9 in Brazil rounded off a perfect week for Flamengo fans. After seeing eternal rivals Fluminense lose out in the final of the Copa Libertadores in midweek, they were then treated to a 3-0 home win on Saturday over Nautico that moved their side five points clear at the top of the table. As for their immediate pursuers, Cruzeiro went down 1-0 to Sport, Gremio lost 2-0 to Botafogo, while Palmeiras could only manage a 1-1 draw against Atletico Mineiro. There was better news for Vitoria, however, who joined the aforementioned trio on 17 points with a 2-1 away win against Portuguesa.
Big game: Fluminense's wretched form in the national championship shows no sign of abating. Facing fellow strugglers Goias this weekend, the Rio giants had a great chance to register their first win of the championship but instead slumped to their sixth defeat in nine outings with a 1-0 reverse.
Headline-grabber: Internacional striker Alex had a day to remember, grabbing a hat-trick in his side's 3-0 win against Curitiba yesterday. The 26-year-old, who won the FIFA Club World Cup with the Porto Alegre outfit in 2006, now has four goals to his name in the Brasileiro.
American Major League Soccer: talk about a Revolution
New England Revolution showed once again why they are considered the top team in the MSL with a 2-1 win away to Los Angeles Galaxy. A brace from Adam Cristman made David Beckham's second-half riposte academic and allowed the East Conference frontrunners to extend their lead over Colombus Crew. This latest reverse was the second on the bounce for the Galaxy, who nevertheless hold on to top spot in the Western section on goal difference over Chivas USA, themselves 1-0 winners away to San Jose Earthquakes.
Big game: A strike from Columbus Crew's Steven Lenhart three minutes from time prevented Chicago Fire from taking all three points in Ohio and further dented the visitors' aspirations of winning the Eastern section. Cuauhtemoc Blanco's side, who were leading 2-0 at one stage, have now gone five games without a win.
Headline-grabber: Ante Razov was once again the hero for Chivas USA, firing home a 25-metre free kick on 88 minutes for the only goal of the game against San Jose Earthquakes. The strike was Razov's 112th in the MSL, making him the second highest scorer in the league's history.
Japanese J.League: Urawa break from the pack
Urawa Red Diamonds took sole possession of top spot of the J.League courtesy of a 2-0 home win over FC Tokyo yesterday. Up into second place now are defending champions Kashima Antlers after their 2-1 defeat of Jubilo Iwata, while Nagoya Grampus, hitherto co-leaders with the Reds, dropped to fourth after going down 2-1 away to Albirex Niigata.
Big game: This involved the team in third place who, much to everyone's surprise, are Kashiwa Reysol. In the pick of games on matchday 15, the Chiba outfit moved up three places with a 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka, who none the less remain in contention back in fifth.
Headline-grabber: Of the top five goal-scorers in this year's championship, only Edmilson of Urawa Red Diamonds was on target this weekend, netting three minutes into his side's match against FC Tokyo.
Boyaca Chico beat America de Cali 4-2 on penalties (1-1 on the night, 2-2 on aggregate) in the second leg of the Colombian Apertura final to take the first title in the club's history. Victory means that the Tunja club, who have only been in the county's top flight for five seasons, will take Colombia's first berth in next year's Copa Libertadores 2008. Pivotal to their success this year was the Argentinian Miguel Caneo, who finished the campaign with 13 goals.
There was also a first-time champion crowned this weekend in Bolivia. A 1-1 draw for Universitario de Sucre against second placed San Jose de Oruro left them seven points clear of their rivals with only two games to play. Forty seven years after their foundation, La U finally have their hands on a league title, and with it a place in next season's Copa Libertadores.