Peru beats New Zealand to capture last World Cup berth
Jefferson Farfan and Christian Ramos scored as Peru defeated New Zealand to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1982 on Wednesday, sealing the last ticket to Russia with a 2-0 win. Farfan struck in the 27th minute and Ramos scored in the 65th to give “Los Incas” their fifth overall World Cup finals appearance and the first in 35 years. The second-leg match at Lima’s Estadio Nacional was the decider after New Zealand and Peru played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Oceania-South America playoff on Saturday at Wellington. New Zealand, ranked 122nd in the world, was seeking a third World Cup finals berth after appearances in 1982 and 2010. Peru attacked the “All-Whites” from the start, Incas defender Luis Advincula slamming a left-footed shot off the crossbar in the third minute to delight a full-throated crowd in the packed stadium. The opening goal came after Christian Cueva raced down the left wing and flicked a pinpoint center pass with the outside of his right foot to Farfan. The 33-year-old forward for Lokomotiv Moscow blasted a right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area past New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and into the back of the net. In celebrating the goal, Farfan covered his head with the jersey of suspended Peru teammate Paolo Guerrero, unavailable after failing a doping test last month. Farfan had another chance in the 42nd minute when Marinovic surrendered a rebound chance, but the sprawled Kiwi made a left-hand save from point blank range and finally clutched the ball to end the threat. New Zealand’s Kip Colvey gave the Kiwis a dangerous chance in the 50th minute with a centering pass from the right wing to second-half substitute Chris Wood, but the English Premier League striker for Burnley saw his header from six meters denied by Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. Still vulnerable to a New Zealand away goal, Peru’s insurance policy came off the foot of Ramos after a corner kick glanced off Farfan’s head. The ball struck Kiwi defender Winston Reid to land in front of Ramos, who fired it into the goal.