Revenge of the visitors
The league battles are drawing to a close in Brazil, Japan and the USA, while Argentina's league is just getting warmed up, and Nigeria's has barely awoken. Yet there was plenty to pique the interest of the discerning football fan, with a number of unexpected results, including a couple of unexpected away wins in Brazil and Japan, making it an exciting weekend. As always, FIFA.com has the details.
Argentinian Apertura: Boca held at last
After three straight wins, Boca Juniors were held to a draw at home by Independiente, despite the latter finishing the game with nine men. Rodrigo Palacio struck his first goal of the season just after half-time, but Dario Gandin headed in the equaliser soon afterwards, and the visitors held on despite the late dismissals of Daniel Montenegro and Guillermo Rodriguez. San Lorenzo moved level with Boca at the top of the standings with a 2-1 home win over Rosario Central, Hernan Gonzalez providing both the goals. Boca, however, still have a game in hand.
Big game: Colon Santa Fe could have motored ahead of Boca with a win at Banfield, but Jorge Burruchaga's side proved tough to break down at home, and a dull 0-0 draw resulted. Colon, however, remain third, only a point behind the leaders and yet to suffer a loss during the campaign.
Headline-grabber: Daniel Montenegro's was one of the more unusual sendoffs on a weekend which produced plenty of red cards. Receiving treatment on the touchline at the Bombonera, he re-entered the play without the referee's permission, and thus received his second yellow card, to the dismay of his Independiente team-mates.
Brasileirao: Gremio pegged back
Just when it looked like the Tricolor were running away with the championship, unfancied Goias blew the race wide open again with a shock 2-1 win over Gremio in Porto Alegre. The hosts led at the break through Leo, but goals from Paulo Baier and Vitor in the second half were enough to give the Verdão the three points. Vanderlei Luxemurgo's Palmeiras wasted no time capitalizing on the leaders' slip, winning 1-0 at Cruzeiro to move within three points of Gremio at the top.
Big game: It was Santos who got what they wanted from the crucial encounter at the Vila Belmiro. Goals from Kleber Pereira and on-loan midfielder Bida secured them a 2-1 win over Copa Libertadores finalists Fluminense, who remain in deep relegation trouble.
Headline-grabber: Vasco da Gama's Leandro Amaral was signed as a striker, but he found himself fulfilling an unaccustomed role against Nautico on Sunday. With goalkeeper Roberto sent off in the 84th minute and all three Vasco substitutions already made, the well-travelled veteran donned the goalkeeper's jersey. He could do nothing about the result, however, as Nautico claimed an important win in the relegation battle.
Major League Soccer: Galaxy questions
The Los Angeles Galaxy may have changed coaches, but so far Bruce Arena has not arrested the glamour side's MLS slide. A 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards, who scored through former international striker Josh Wolff and midfielder Davy Arnaud, will do little to ease the fans' concerns. Despite being held to a 1-1 draw in San Jose, Western Conference leaders Houston Dynamo extended their lead, with chief rivals Real Salt Lake defeated 2-1 by the New York Red Bulls.
Big game: Toronto got off to an excellent start in their crucial encounter with Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew, with Carl Robinson slamming a shot in off the bar in the sixth minute. But Pat Noonan scored his first goal for Columbus in the 40th minute to equalize, and that was the end of the scoring, leaving Toronto with little hope of making the playoffs.
Headline-grabber: It was not surprising that Brian Ching was left on the bench for Houston after his exertions with the USA national team. But big occasions are made for star players, and when Ching was introduced in the second half with the western pacesetters 1-0 down, he scored within seven minutes of his arrival.
Japanese J-League: Away masters march on
Three away wins in a row now for Nagoya Grampus Eight, and their rivals must be wondering just who can topple Dragan Stojkovic's men on their travels. This time it was no less than Asian Champions League quarter-finalists Gamba Osaka who stumbled at home against Nagoya, for whom Yoshizumi Ogawa's first-half goal was enough. For rivals Kashima Antlers, looking for a league boost ahead of their Asian Champions League quarter-final against Adelaide United, top scorer Marquinhos was on target again, but Hiroyuki Taniguchi squared things up on 72 minutes for visitors Kawasaki Frontale, in a 1-1 draw.
Big game: There was plenty at stake when Oita Trinita travelled to Asian champions Urawa, with both sides very much in the title race. Yet neither team could find the net, as Gert Engels' Urawa found the team with the best defensive record in the league an impenetrable barrier.
Headline-grabber: Okinawan forward Shingo Akamine finally appears to be fulfilling his potential this season, and two goals against Omiya Ardija on the weekend lifted him to eight goals for the season.
Nigerian Premier League: Opening shock
Defending champions Kano Pillars received a rude shock on the opening day of the Nigerian Premier League, going down 2-1 to freshly-promoted Kaduna United at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium. Bayelsa United, third last term, were the most impressive of the opening-day winners, thumping Niger Tornadoes 4-0 at home. CAF Champions League hopefuls Enyimba begin their campaign on Wednesday, against Ocean Boys.
Big game: It was good news for another promoted side, FC Abuja, as they held last year's runners-up Heartland to a 1-1 draw in Owerri.
Headline-grabber: Warri Wolves were placing plenty of faith in last year's top scorer Fengor Ogude ahead of their opening match against fellow top-flight newcomers Gateway. And Ogude did not disappoint, scoring the first goal of the Nigerian Premier League season for the Wolves after half an hour.