Peru will attend their first World Cup in 35 years after defeating New Zealand in Lima last night.
The home team managed to secure qualification after two goals on either side of the break despite a brave effort from New Zealand, who many didn’t expect to even still be in with a shout in this tie.
Despite being without all time leading goal scorer, winger Jefferson Farfan picked up the slack after a disappointing goalless draw in Wellington last weekend, putting Peru ahead just before the half hour mark. Edison Flores found himself in some space at the edge of his own half and managed hold the ball up and delivering a juicy cross into Farfan, who buried a thunderous strike into the roof of Marinovic net.
This goal was a perfect display of what we had expected from this Peru side and what we missed in the first leg, a combination of skill and finesse. In dedication to the missing Guerrero, Farfan held up the strikers number nine shirt after he scored as an ode to a player who has done so much for his country but missed out on this crucial tie.
After this first goal it seemed an open and shut case for the Peruvians who then had applied the pressure heavily on a now deflated All White side. They were mere inches from going two ahead in the 41st minute, after Trauco’s strike from outside the area was fumbled and Farfans follow up strike pushed away by the All White Goalkeepers fingertips, denying him his second of the match.
After the break, more pressure was applied and after a well delivered corner fell to Christian Ramos, he made no mistake from the edge of the 6-yard box and buried Peru’s second, the defenders third goal ever for his nation.
At which point the game was then beyond any doubt, with New Zealand barely pushing forward and them ending the match with a total of just 3 shots and none one target, leaving Peru’s Goalkeeper, Pedro Gallese with practically nothing to do all game.
As such, it was a mere matter of seeing the game out for Peru, but this said, it didn’t stop them pushing forward right up until the end of the match.
It ended 2-0 in what generally was a routine, but impressive performance for Peru who showed real domination and determination to get past New Zealand, who although did well in the first match, probably didn’t deserve to go through over the course of two legs.
Peru should certainly not be underestimated in Russia and could be a surprise act. However, now entering the second group of seeds in the draw, they are already destined a tough group, so will need more like what we saw last night to make their mark.
Despite an empathetic victory in general for Peru, this tie has not been without controversy, with suspicious airport delays, fireworks and jet-planes outside the players hotel, and lasers on the pitch, which has been labelled “disgusting” by New Zealand fans. As such, whether they will suffer punishment in the coming weeks for these affairs we are yet to see, but it would be a shame to see the team suffer due to the stupidity of their fans.
Either way, this Peruvian team will wake up today as legends after making history for this by breaking a 35-year World Cup drought.
We shall look forward to seeing this exciting Peru team in Russia and hopefully they will continue to make their country proud.