Peru crush Kiwis’ World Cup dream
THE All Whites have fallen at the final hurdle of their run to the 2018 World Cup, going down 2-0 to a dominant Peru in their intercontinental playoff second leg in Lima.
Goals in either half on Thursday afternoon (AEDT) to Jefferson Farfan and Christian Ramos broke Kiwi hearts in what was a resolute but ultimately uninspiring performance. With star man Chris Wood starting on the bench, the All Whites fashioned just three shots in the 90 minutes, relying mostly on dead-ball situations. Peru moved the ball from side to side accurately in front of a fanatical home crowd and rarely looked flustered.
Veteran forward Farfan buzzed about with intent, while midfielder Christian Cueva was an inspired presence between the lines.
And their class eventually told over the All Whites, winning 2-0 on aggregate after last weekend's 0-0 first-leg stalemate in Wellington.
Los Incas will go to the World Cup for the first time since 1982 - following fellow South American sides Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay - despite the absence of suspended captain Paolo Guerrero.
Under a torrent of early pressure in the Peruvian capital, the All Whites rode their luck in the opening stages when Luis Advincula struck the crossbar with a vicious third-minute long-range shot.
Yet despite sitting deep, they conceded within half an hour. The talented Cueva, who plies his trade for Sao Paolo in Brazil, slipped an impressive ball into the path of Farfan, who shot high into the net. Kiwi goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic later made a stunning double save to deny Miguel Trauco and then Farfan on the rebound.
Higher up the field, the All Whites barely made a whimper until the introduction of Wood at halftime. He immediately ruffled up the Peruvian backline.
But his efforts were ultimately in vain, as Ramos' goal from a corner put the match - and the World Cup in Russia - beyond the All Whites' desperate reach.