A heavily favored Peru squad failed to make an impact in the first leg of its intercontinental World Cup playoff against New Zealand.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Oceania champion New Zealand drew 0-0 with Peru on Saturday in the first leg of their intercontinental World Cup playoff.
The teams will head to Lima next week for the return leg with the South Americans looking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1982 and New Zealand aiming to return for the first time since 2010.
Peru, which finished fifth in the South American qualifying tournament and is currently ranked 10th in the world, was heavily favored to beat New Zealand, but struggled in the absence of star striker and captain, Paolo Guerrero, who was suspended after failing a doping test.
New Zealand, ranked 122nd in the world, also suffered a setback before kickoff when Burnley striker Chris Wood was forced out of the starting lineup because of a lingering hamstring injury, although he did come on a second-half substitute as the home side pressed for a late goal.