Peru 2-1 Bolivia
31 August 2017
Estadio Monumental “U”, Lima
World Cup Qualifier
Scorers: Flores, Cueva
Peru are the new unofficial football world champions after beating Bolivia in Lima in this World Cup qualifier. Edison Flores and Christian Cueva scored the two excellent goals for Peru in a 2-1 win that maintains their chances of reaching Russia 2018. The next challengers will be Ecuador, who haven’t won a UFWC title match since 1965.
Bolivia had already been eliminated from World Cup qualifying, and had been hit this week with sanctions for fielding an ineligible player. The previous match between Bolivia and Peru had originally ended 2-0 to Bolivia but was awarded as a 3-0 to Peru. A 0-0 draw with Chile was also awarded as a 3-0 win to Chile. Bolivia had fielded player Nelson Cabrera, who was ineligible as he had previously represented Paraguay.
Peru, meanwhile, have kept their chances of qualifying alive. They now stand sixth in the table, just a point behind fifth-place Argentina, and just four points behind second-placed Colombia. First-placed Brazil are the only side to have qualified so far, with three matchdays remaining.
The match was played in from of 56,000 fans at Lima’s Estadio Monumental “U”, the home ground of Universitario (or La “U”). Peru started strongly, and could have killed the game off in the first half if not for some good saves by Bolivia keeper Carlos Lampes.
Edison Flores opened the scoring in the 55th minute with a brilliant left-footed shot from outside the penalty area that dinked into the top corner of Lampe’s net, giving the goalkeeper no chance. Flores plays in Denmark for AaB Fodbold.
The Peruvian TV commentator had barely stopped yelling “Gol! Gol! Gol!” when another one arrived. And, remarkably, Christian Cueva’s strike was almost identical to that of Flores. The Sao Paulo number 10’s shot was struck from the same position, and ended up in the same corner, but was hit with his right foot, not his left.
Bolivia pulled a goal back through Gilbert Alvarez in the 72nd minute, after the striker got his foot to a through ball and cleverly lobbed it high into the air over the head of keeper Carlos Caceda.
Peru held on for a deserved victory – and their first UFWC win since 1982. That was when Peru got a shock win against France, and then defeated Romania.
This win over Bolivia was Peru’s eighth UFWC title match victory, and it moves them up to 23rd in the all-time rankings (level with Bolivia).
The next title match comes around quick and fast this Tuesday, 5 September, when Peru travel to Ecuador. The Ecuadorians have previously been UFWC champions, but that was way back in 1965. Ecuador lost 2-0 to Brazil today, although there is no shame in that. Nevertheless, Peru will expect to win the game and further strengthen their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals.
For the avoidance of confusion, this match was played on the evening of 31 August 2017 in Peru, which was the morning of 1 September in the UK.