NOT ALWAYS GREEN The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and Wenger reminded Arsenal fans of that. “Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future,” Wenger said, facing up to elimination for the seventh successive year in the round of 16 of the Champions League. The Champions League now often determines the fates of the elite managers in a way it didn’t in the pre-1992 format where only the national champions made the European Cup. Louis van Gaal was fired by Manchester United after two seasons despite lifting the FA Cup in May because he failed to secure a top-four finish to make the Champions League. Successor Jose Mourinho will survive in the job if his sixth-place side misses out again but patience will eventually wear thin at Old Trafford where Alex Ferguson ruled for more than 26 years until his retirement in 2013. LONDON (AP): Arsene Wenger is the last of a dying breed, the football coach who can establish a long-standing dynasty at a club and seems to be able to decide for himself whether or not he leaves. In the 21st year of his Arsenal reign, Wenger is the longest-serving manager in a leading European league. Whatever pressures counterparts face, Wenger seems to emerge largely unscathed within the hierarchy regardless of the setbacks on the pitch, of which there have been many during his second decade. The succession of silverware – which peaked when the “Invincibles” side went unbeaten throughout the whole season in the 2003/04 campaign – has been replaced by a cycle of capitulations, the latest a 5-1 humiliation in the Champions League at Bayern Munich. The ownership is more forgiving than the fans, rigidly standing by the Frenchman who was once a trailblazer but who has now been overtaken by a new generation of more tactically-flexible, innovative coaches. “We are all very high on Arsene,” Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke said in a rare interview with The Associated Press recently. And for all Wenger’s shortcomings he has delivered Champions League qualification in every season in charge, guaranteeing the comfort blanket of the UEFA windfall for Kroenke by finishing in the Premier League’s top four. But how healthy is it for any business when an employee appears able to set his own departure terms rather than his bosses calling the shots? “No matter what happens I will manage next season … is it here or somewhere else?” Wenger said yesterday, toying with Arsenal and asserting his power. Perhaps he’s just waiting to be begged to stay. There’s often a convenient array of stories linking Wenger with leading jobs, including Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in recent years, whenever the pressure from fans starts to intensify, showing he’s a man in demand.
“It’s a big emotion, beyond making history,” tearful Peru midfielder Christian Cueva said. “It’s a child’s dream. We have not broken this bad streak for so long. Now I’m going to celebrate.”The second-leg match at Lima’s Estadio Nacional was the decider after New Zealand and Peru played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Oceania-South America playoff on Saturday at Wellington.Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tweeted his joy after the match, posting the message: “We waited more than 35 years to be in a World Cup again. Thank you warriors for giving us this joy.”Peru’s Christian Ramos (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against New Zealand during their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying play-off second leg match, in Lima, on November 15, 2017 © AFP / Ernesto BENAVIDESNew Zealand, ranked 122nd in the world, was seeking a third World Cup finals berth after appearances in 1982 and 2010.“I’m proud of the team, but everybody should be proud of these players because what they’ve done is incredible and tonight they played to an incredible level,” New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson said.“Overall, very proud, given the challenges we had coming here, with the key players we had who were injured, knowing that we had to manage game time for many of them.”A noisy fireworks display was exploded above the New Zealand team hotel on Tuesday night, prompting Hudson to lament lost sleep.“We would have had a better chance of winning this game if our hotel had been right next to Peru’s national team. And we’d have had some more sleep. Next time we’ll stay next to Peru’s hotel,” Hudson said.Peru’s Christian Cueva (L) fights for the ball with New Zealand’s Kip Colvey during their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying play-off second leg match, in Lima, on November 15, 2017 © AFP / ERNESTO BENAVIDESPeru attacked the “All-Whites” from the start, Incas defender Luis Advincula slamming a left-footed shot off the crossbar in the third minute to delight a full-throated capacity crowd of 40,000.The opening goal came after Cueva raced down the left wing and flicked a pinpoint center pass with the outside of his right foot to Farfan.The 33-year-old forward for Lokomotiv Moscow blasted a right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area past New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and into the back of the net.– Win dedicated to Guerrero –In celebrating the goal, Farfan covered his head with the jersey of suspended Peru teammate Paolo Guerrero, unavailable after failing a doping test last month.Peru’s Paolo Guerrero was unavailable for New Zealand match due to a failed doping test last month © AFP/File / CRIS BOURONCLE“Thanks for the support, Paolo. This is for you,” Farfan said.After dedicating the match to Guerrero, Farfan gestured to the delighted crowd and said, “Paolo is all around.”Farfan had another chance in the 42nd minute when Marinovic surrendered a rebound chance, but the sprawled Kiwi made a left-hand save from point blank range and finally clutched the ball to end the threat.New Zealand’s Kip Colvey gave the Kiwis a dangerous chance in the 50th minute with a centering pass from the right wing to second-half substitute Chris Wood, but the English Premier League striker for Burnley saw his header from six meters denied by Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.Still vulnerable to a New Zealand away goal, 10th-ranked Peru’s insurance policy came off the foot of Ramos after a corner kick glanced off Farfan’s head.The ball struck Kiwi defender Winston Reid to land in front of Ramos, who fired it into the goal.“The people deserve this and much more,” Ramos said. “They supported us when we were bad.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Peru’s (from L) Raul Ruidiaz, Jefferson Farfan and Christian Cueva celebrate after defeating New Zealand 2-0 and qualifying for the FIFA 2018 World Cup, in Lima, on November 15, 2017 © AFP / ERNESTO BENAVIDESLima, Peru, Nov 16 – Emotional Peru advanced to the World Cup for the first time since 1982 by defeating New Zealand 2-0 on Wednesday, goals by Jefferson Farfan and Christian Ramos sealing the last ticket to Russia.Farfan struck in the 27th minute and Ramos scored in the 65th to give “Los Incas” their fifth overall World Cup finals appearance and the first in 35 years.