New Zealand 0-0 Peru
11 November 2017
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
World Cup Qualifier, OFC–CONMEBOL play-off first leg
First-time UFWC challengers New Zealand held Unofficial Football World Champions Peru to a goalless draw in this first leg of the OFC–CONMEBOL World Cup qualification play-off. In a game of few chances, Peru had the majority of the possession, but couldn’t get an away goal. The second leg will be played in Lima on Wednesday, 15 November, with all to play for – WC qualification and the UFWC title.
Peru and New Zealand have never played each other. Peru are currently ranked 10th in the world by FIFA, while New Zealand are 122nd. Peru are 22nd in the UFWC rankings, while New Zealand obviously don’t have a UFWC rank, having never played a UFWC match.
Ricardo Gareca’s Peru went into the play-offs without suspended captain and record goalscorer Paolo Guerrero. And Anthony Hudson’s New Zealand were also dealt a blow, with Burnley striker Chris Wood struggling with a hamstring strain, and only able to appear off the bench for the last 15 minutes. Jefferson Farfán replaced Guerrero for Peru, and Kosta Barbarouses played upfront for New Zealand.
Peru dominated the game in terms of possession without being able to break down a New Zealand defence marshalled by their captain, West Ham defender Winston Reid. All Whites keeper Stefan Marinovic recovered well after a goal-line mix-up in the first half, and made an excellent save, pushing Aldo Corzo’s header over the bar, in the second.
New Zealand’s best chances came after the introduction of Wood, who forced a save out of Pedro Gallese with his first touch. Then, with just five minutes left to play, Ryan Thomas fired in a shot from the edge of the area that went just wide of the post.
For UFWC purposes the two legs of this play-off are treated as two entirely separate matches. Peru retain the title because the first match ended in a draw. And they will continue to retain the title if the second match ends in a draw. Extra time and/or penalties won’t affect the UFWC, as they will be used to decide the overall outcome of the two-legged play-off, and won’t affect the result of the individual match.
We’ll have coverage of Peru v New Zealand right here. In the meantime, if you’re new to the Unofficial Football World Championships you can find out all about the UFWC here. And you can keep up to date with all things UFWC by following us on Twitter or Facebook.
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