Peru hope to breach New Zealand
LIMA, Peru (AP):
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca is expecting New Zealand to think only of defending in the second leg of their play-off today as the visitors try to reach next year's World Cup in Russia.
With the teams having played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday in the first leg in Wellington, Peru are heavy favourites to advance.
Peru are trying for their first berth since 1982, and fifth overall. New Zealand have only qualified twice, the last time coming in 2010 in South Africa.
"I'm sure they're going to stay back," said Gareca, an Argentine, who has transformed Peru's national team. "Knowing this, we'll have to be patient and pass the ball around."
Peru hope to join four other South American teams who have already qualified for next year's tournament: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.
Peru will have to advance without their top striker, Paolo Guerrero, who was suspended after failing a doping test. He also missed the first leg.
Jefferson Farfan, who will be called on to score in Guerrero's absence, said Peru would have to "search for any way to get through the defensive fence".
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson accepts that Peru are favourites but, he cautioned, "we're not here on vacation".
The streets in the Peruvian capital are all decked out in the red and white of the team's colours. The Peruvian Football Federation has also announced it will allow a Peruvian flag to be displayed before 50,000 people in the National Stadium in downtown Lima.