No away trepidation for NZ with tie in balance

WELLINGTON • Travelling to Lima holds no fears for New Zealand as they seek a result against Peru in the second leg of their World Cup play-off, All Whites coach Anthony Hudson said.

New Zealand soaked up all the pressure the 10th-ranked Peru threw at them in a 0-0 draw at Wellington Regional Stadium yesterday and head to South America for Wednesday's return match with hope of qualifying for next year's Finals in Russia.

"We are looking forward to going to Lima. This actually suits us. We are used to that type of adversity," Hudson told reporters.

"I have always complained that we never play at home, we always play away from home.

"But we are now used to it. Most of the places we have gone, we have managed to score and create chances so we are confident we can go and score."

New Zealand, ranked 122nd, will remain heavy underdogs against Ricardo Gareca's side but Hudson said he had learnt from the team's intercontinental play-offs in the previous two qualifying campaigns.

The All Whites qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a 1-0 win over Bahrain in the second leg in Wellington after a 0-0 draw away.

Four years ago, however, they were hammered 1-5 away to Mexico in the first leg and failed to qualify for Brazil.

"The key for us was that we said it's not 90 minutes, it's 180 minutes and we need to be in the game in the last 10 minutes over in Lima," added Hudson.

"We will play the full 180 minutes and make sure we are in the tie right to the end."

Peru coach Gareca was disappointed his side were unable to convert their few chances yesterday, leaving their dream of ending a 36-year absence from the World Cup Finals on tenterhooks.

The South Americans were the better team but lacked a cutting edge, with the absence of goal-scoring captain Paolo Guerrero, who is currently suspended over an "abnormal result" from a drugs test.

"The team played well, but (New Zealand) were really well organised and the result is not that bad," Gareca said through an interpreter.

"It won't be an easy game at home, but we have the fans and everybody behind the team.

"I have faith that when we are playing at home, we'll have the support of all our people... we have all the conditions to play a good game in Peru."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'No away trepidation for NZ with tie in balance'. Subscribe