What’s happening in the World of Football

A look at football outside the media focused Europe, as we delve into continental competition in Asia and South America.

Football at times can be very European centered, none more so than during a Champions League week. Well that wasn’t the only Champions League football that has been played this week; the Asian Champions League began, so this is where we shall start.

The AFC Champions League

Holders Guangzhou Evergrande began their defence of the trophy with a 4-2 win over Melbourne Victory. Former West Ham United striker Alessandro Diamanti scored a hat-trick on his debut for the Chinese side. He made more of a splash than Cerezo Osaka’s new signing, but we will speak of him later on.

There were no real surprises in the opening games of this season’s tournament, with most clubs seemingly happy to settle for a point. Clubs to watch for in this season’s tournament include the holders Guangzhou, last season runners up FC Seoul, Jeonbuk Motors and Al Hilal. Sanfreece Hiroshima will be hoping for a better showing in the tournament this year round, and should have aspirations of at the very least reaching the second round, whilst Japanese play-maker Shunsuke Nakamura will be hoping to inspire Yokohama F Marinos.

J. League preview.

Defending champions Sanfreece will be looking to make it a triple crown this season, as they have won the last two editions of the league. It will also be the first time since the J.League began that Jubilo Iwata will not be present, following their relegation to J2. Omiya Ardija will be hoping for a much improved showing this season following their utterly dismal slump in the second half of last year. Atop the league at the midway stage with 36 points, they managed to gain only a further nine points.

Much will be expected of Cerezo youngster Yoichiro Kakitani in this World Cup year, as they look to improve on their fourth place finish. But the biggest news for the J.League was the signing of Uruguayan star Diego Forlan. Having left Internacional in Brazil, the World Cup 2010 golden ball winner, will now ply his trade in Osaka. It’s an important year for Cerezo, as city rivals Gamba are back following promotion from the J2; Cerezo will want to preform better than Yashuito Endo and his teammates.

CONMEBOL

Copa Libertadores

Two games in, for most teams, the Copa Libertadores is the premier competition for South American sides. Current holders Atletico Miniero began their defence with a 1-0 victory over Zamora of Venezuela. With Ronaldinho staying on at the club, they will amongst the favourites though, one really does doubt whether they have the squad to win back-to-back Copas. If they do they will be the first team since Boca Juniors in 2000 and 2001 to have won the Copa in succession.

It’s always difficult to pick out who will win the Copa, as the teams can change so drastically, thanks to the summer transfer windows, but teams that one would expect to be in the final reckoning, usually come from the dominant Argentina or Brazil, so I fully expect to see a club from either nation. That being said, challenges will be made from clubs of Columbia, Uruguay and Paraguay. The next round of games are on the 11th, 12th and 13th March.

Copa Libertadores de America 2011 | Santos  - Peñarol | 110615-Remember if you feel we missed anything out please don’t hesitate to comment at the bottom.

Weekend Round-Up – October 7th

England – North London rivals both drop points in the title race. Spurs get ‘Hammered’ by West Ham, whilst West Brom hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw. Manchester United recovered from being a goal down, to beat bottom side Sunderland 2-1. Adnan Januzaj scored both goals on his full debut in the Premier League.

Germany – The Bundesliga saw some upsets this past weekend. Firstly Borussia Dortmund fell at Borussia Moenchengladbach whilst Entracht Braunschweig finally won their first game in the league with am impressive 2-0 over Wolfsburg. Champions Bayern recorded a 1-1 with Bayer Leverkusen.

Spain – Two very late goals for Real Madrid saw them turn a 2-1 defeat into a 3-2 victory. Morata and Ronaldo scored the late decisive goals. Barcelona easily dispatched of Valladolid 4-1. Whilst Atletico Madrid made it 8 out of 8 wins, to remain joint top with Barca.

Italy – Three first half goals, including two from Francesco Totti, saw Roma canter to a victory in the Giuseppe Meazza, against an Inter side, unreconziable to the one that won the Champions League just three years ago. Napoli and Juventus remained two point behind the league leaders.

France – Monaco and PSG both won their respective games 2-1 to maintain their lead at the top of Ligue 1. Valenciennes are currently bottom of the league,

Portugal – Porto are currently two points in front of Sporting Lisbon. Benfica are a further five points behind.

Argentina – Newell’s Old Boys remain top of the Clausura, with San Lorenzo in second and Boca Juniors in third

Brazil – Cruzeiro kept to winning way, beating Nautico 4-1. Gremio and Atletico Paranaense sit second and third respectively.

Japan – Sanfreece Hiroshima and Yokohama F Marinos sit joint top of J1. Omiya Ardija lost again, going down to third place Urawa Red Diamonds 4-1.

Omiya, who were top at the mid point break, have won just once in 13 League games and find themselves sitting 10th

Omiya, who were top at the mid point break, have won just once in 13 League games and find themselves sitting 10th