Saturday 21 July 2018

Peru sink Socceroos to send fans home smiling

Australia 0 Peru 2

Peru's Paolo Guerrero celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Reuters
Peru's Paolo Guerrero celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Reuters

Mark Critchley at the Fisht Olympic Stadium

Australia travelled to this World Cup hoping to earn redemption for a sporting nation that has suffered a disappointing and at times turbulent year so far.

Instead, Bert van Marwijk's limited side - like their cricket and rugby counterparts in recent days - came up well short.

Australia's Josh Risdon in action with Peru's Christian Cueva. Photo: Reuters
Australia's Josh Risdon in action with Peru's Christian Cueva. Photo: Reuters

Peru are leaving Russia, too, but they will fly home with a win - much to the delight of their substantial support, whose noise and colour has seemingly filled every town square and hotel lobby in this country for the past fortnight. Those fans, as much as Ricardo Gareca's adventurous side, deserved a victory to celebrate.

A 18th-minute volley from Andre Carrillo, on loan at Watford last season, and a strike shortly after the interval by Paolo Guerrero, the striker whose drug suspension was lifted so that he could participate in this tournament, ended any faint hope Australia had of sneaking into the last 16.

Australia started with a greater sense of purpose and initially looked comfortable, disrupting Peru's long spells of passive possession with sharp challenges and equally-sharp counter-attacks.

The South Americans soon hit back with some direct play of their own, though, and it ended with an early sucker punch.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca. Photo: Reuters
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca. Photo: Reuters

A long, searching ball out from the back by Yoshimar Yotun was brought down just outside the area by Guerrero and he found Carrillo, whose well-taken volley crashed past goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

Australian hearts sank, but the 10,000 or so wearing green and gold inside the stadium could take solace in the fact they had the most inventive player on the park in Celtic's Tom Rogic.

After Mathew Leckie missed a great chance to equalise, Peru's defence, who kept just two clean sheets through qualifying, became more assured and Australia were finally done when Guerrero made it 2-0 five minutes after half-time.

© Independent News Service

Australia's Robbie Kruse reacts. Photo: Reuters REUTERS/Max Rossi
Australia's Robbie Kruse reacts. Photo: Reuters REUTERS/Max Rossi
Peru's Luis Advincula in action with Australia's Robbie Kruse. Photo: Reuters
Peru's Luis Advincula in action with Australia's Robbie Kruse. Photo: Reuters

Irish Independent

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