All Whites lose 2-0 in Lima

The All Whites have come up just short of their FIFA World Cup dream.

Anthony Hudson’s team, who went into the away leg full of confidence after a 0-0 draw in Wellington, fought for everything today in Lima but went down 2-0 to a Peruvian side who dominated possession and territory throughout.

It was a brave performance from the World No 122 New Zealand who challenged the World No 10 for the duration of the two-legged tie and could so easily have booked their place in the FIFA World Cup finals.

In a fever-pitch atmosphere at Estadio Nacional De Lima, Peru went ahead through Jefferson Farfan in the 28th minute to send the capacity 40,000 home crowd into raptures.

The nation of 32 million, who had not been to the FIFA World Cup since 1982, were within touching distance of returning to the world’s biggest sporting event for a fifth time, but the tie was still alive with the hope of an away goal for New Zealand.

In the 65th minute, Christian Cueva swung in a corner that was flicked on inside the box and superbly finished by Christian Ramos in what proved to be the definitive moment of the tie.

All Whites goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic was superb throughout and produced a spectacular double-save late in the first half – initially from Miguel Trauco and then Farfan from close range – and another to prevent an own goal in the second half to keep New Zealand within striking distance.

New Zealand had chances – most notably to skipper Winston Reid before half-time with a header and substitute Chris Wood with a powerful header after half time (which was ruled out for a push) – but they could not convert and Peru’s long wait to be back at the FIFA World Cup was over.

After 35 years the relief inside the stadium in Lima was palpable as the Ricardo Gareca-coached side booked the final ticket to Russia next year and the emotion flowed for the players.

The All Whites went into the away leg copping everything imaginable from the locals. From a three-hour delayed flight, a bus that wouldn’t fit into the stadium, having the locals curse them with snakes, a fireworks display outside their hotel at 3.30am and military fighter jets dropping over the hotel at dawn. It was an extraordinary build-up, to say the least.

But the visitors were not deterred. In fact, it only served as extra motivation to defeat Peru on their home turf and they went out to deliver a performance to make New Zealand proud.

Hudson kept Peru guessing when he changed his formation and made three changes from the starting XI who impressed in the home tie in Wellington.

Tommy Smith failed to fully recover from his calf injury and was replaced by Andrew Durante, while Ryan Thomas joined Kosta Barbarouses up front and Bill Tuiloma took Marco Rojas’ place in the midfield.

Hudson again opted to use star striker Wood, who has been recovering from a tight hamstring from the bench, and the Burnley forward again made a massive impact without reward.

The All Whites almost got off to a perfect start when Barbarouses looked to be pulled down in the opening 18 seconds but the referee Clément Turpin waved it away.

Peru came straight back onto the attack and also could have taken the lead when fullback Luis Advincula hit a wonderful strike which crashed off the woodwork.

The fast start from Peru continued and the opening goal came in the 28th minute from a well-worked move. The pressure was building and Farfan opened the scoring midway through the first half. Christian Cueva weaved down the left flank and turned Reid inside out before laying it off for Farfan who hammered home a superb finish to beat Marinovic.

Soon after they could have had two. Farfan was odds-on to score before Marinovic put out his left-hand and saved a shot from behind him and pulled it in to avert the danger.

In the final moments of the first half, skipper Reid had a great chance to get New Zealand back on level terms. From a Clayton Lewis corner, the West Ham United centre-half climbed high and had a free header but not get it down on target.

Buoyed by the presence of Wood in the second half, the All Whites started the stronger of the two teams. They created chances but could not find the finishing touch.

New Zealand did not cope well with the corner midway through the second half which saw Ramos net the second goal.

In the final 30 minutes, Hudson threw caution to the wind with nothing to lose. He brought Marco Rojas on for Lewis and Jeremy Brockie, who came on for his 50th international for New Zealand, replaced Andrew Durante.

The All Whites sped up the game as Peru countered it with slowing every play possible. Time ran out on the dream for the All Whites to become the third team from New Zealand to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. As gallant as the performance was, it will be little consolation for the All Whites who had taken a world-class team all the way.

Match Details
Peru 2 (Jefferson Farfan 28’, Christian Ramos 65’) New Zealand 0 HT 1-0

New Zealand (from): 1. Stefan Marinovic (GK), 2. Winston Reid (c), 3. Deklan Wynne, 5. Michael Boxall, 6. Bill Tuiloma (9. Chris Wood 45’), 7. Kosta Barbarouses, 8. Michael McGlinchey, 14. Ryan Thomas, 15. Clayton Lewis (11. Marco Rojas 58’), 18. Kip Colvey, 22. Andrew Durante (17. Jeremy Brockie 77’)
Coach: Anthony Hudson
Substitutes not used; 4. Themi Tzimopoulos, 10. Shane Smeltz, 11. Marco Rojas, 12. Glen Moss (GK), 13. Monty Patterson, 16. Dane Ingham, , 19. Rory Fallon, 20. Tommy Smith, 23. Max Crocombe (GK)

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