New Zealand, Peru draw 0-0 in World Cup playoff

Published 12:35 a.m. ET Nov. 11, 2017 | Updated 2:19 a.m. ET Nov. 11, 2017

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) โ€” Oceania champion New Zealand held Peru to a 0-0 draw Saturday in the first leg of their intercontinental World Cup playoff that will decide the final qualifier for Russia next year.

The teams will head to Lima next week for the second leg with the South Americans hoping to return to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and New Zealand looking to make just its third appearance at the finals.

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 key striker Chris Wood was forced out of the starting lineup because of a lingering…

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