Tim Cahill brace puts end to Syria's World Cup dream

Tim Cahill's extra-time victor ended Syria's 2018 World Cup hopes as Australia came from behind to defeat the war-torn nation 2-1 in the Asia World Cup qualifying second-leg on Tuesday.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Socceroos progress to a final play-off against the fourth-placed team from North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) next month.

A 93rd minute equaliser put Syria through to a two-game qualification playoff against Australia, with Omar Al Somah scoring in a 1-1 draw in Malaysia leaving all to play for in Sydney tonight.

Syria had a man sent off early in extra time, though, and were eventually undone when Cahill powered home Robbie Kruse's cross for his 50th global goal.

Still playing at the ripe age of 37, Cahill proved there's plenty left in the tank as the Socceroos ended Syria's World Cup dream in heartbreaking fashion.

"It doesn't matter who we play next".

Now aged 37, spring-heeled Timmy defied his creaking bones to play all 120 minutes of the epic tussle, scoring his 49th and 50th global goals in the process as the Socceroos eventually mustered a 2-1 victory. Eventually that goal came and it was that man again Cahill who was in the right place at the right time.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has dropped a selection bombshell for the crunch clash at ANZ Stadium, reportedly leaving Mooy out of his starting XI against Syria. In the end, it took superb crosses from Leckie and Kruse to allow Cahill to find the back of the net through trademark powerful headers from close range.

With penalties on the horizon, Syria seemed desperate to hold on.

Australia were given a boost early in extra time as Mahmoud Al Mawas was given a second booking by replacement referee Ilgiz Tantashev, prompting Postecoglou to throw on Tomi Juric to bolster the attack.

With one fixture left to fulfil, that'll either be Panama, Honduras or the United States.

  • Rosalie Stanley