In Summary
  • New Zealand worked tirelessly in defence and rode their luck at times, but grew in confidence as the game progressed.
  • Peru coach Ricardo Gareca praised New Zealand's tenacity but said his side should have won and he expected a big performance in the return leg in Lima on Wednesday.

WELLINGTON

Peru failed to break down a resolute New Zealand defence in a 0-0 draw in Wellington Saturday, leaving their dream of ending a 36-year absence from the World Cup finals hanging by a thread.

"Los Incas" failed to score a coveted away goal despite largely outplaying New Zealand in the opening match of their two-legged World Cup play-off for a spot at next year's tournament in Russia.

Peru, ranked 10th in the world to New Zealand's 122, 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.

New Zealand worked tirelessly in defence and rode their luck at times, but grew in confidence as the game progressed.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca praised New Zealand's tenacity but said his side should have won and he expected a big performance in the return leg in Lima on Wednesday.

"If someone deserved to win Peru deserved it. That's what I feel," he told reporters.

"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."

New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson was delighted to head to Lima on even terms but said the job was only half done.

"It's an incredibly good result for us but we're not in a position to be settling on that... the mindset is we've achieved nothing and we want to go to Russia," he told reporters.

He said the Kiwis would not be intimidated by Peru's fanatical home support because New Zealand's remoteness meant his side almost always played on the road.

"Honestly, we've been globetrotters for the last three years. We've gone to some crazy environments and different cultures and languages and timezones," he said.

"So we're really well set up to handle adversity. This won't trouble us. The travel won't trouble us."

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