The Socceroos Struggle Through To The Next Stage Of World Cup Qualification

The Socceroos Struggle Through To The Next Stage Of World Cup Qualification

The Socceroos Struggle Through To The Next Stage Of World Cup Qualification

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.

A 1-1 draw in the first leg in Melaka last Thursday meant that the World Cup play-off decider between Australia and Syria was poised on a knife-edge going into the second.

Mahmoud Al Mawas was shown the red card in 94th minute as a 10-man Syria fell prey to Tim Cahill's second goal of the game.

One year, two months and 29 days after Syria began their qualifying campaign against Afghanistan, their hopes of reaching a first ever World Cup were finally ended against Australia in Sydney.

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

So noticeable, in fact, that the Socceroos' midfield - now controlled by Mooy - linked up two minutes later with the only person Australia has consistently counted on throughout its past three World Cup qualifying stages, Tim Cahill, to score the team's second goal and save the day.

Those combinations helped put James Troisi into the box to feed Cahill, but his right-footed finish was blocked by a defender's thigh with the goal beckoning.

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For a second we actually thought Syria could do it and watching the game play out on Twitter was almost as good as watching the game itself.

His 49th and 50th goals for Australia were arguably two of his most important, given the high stakes and how hard the home side found the Syrian defence to break down.

As penalties beckoned, Robbie Kruse sent over a cross from the byline and Cahill out-jumped his marker to power a header past the diving Ibrahim Alma.

There would be further drama as Syria hit the post in the 121st minute with a free-kick but Australia managed to hold on to book their place in the tournament in Russian Federation. Postecoglou said. "He's got real belief in himself".

The Terriers midfielder started on the bench but was introduced after just 10 minutes after Bournemouth utility man Brad Smith picked up a suspected hip injury.

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

The Syrian team has been on a remarkable run despite being forced to play all its games in other countries.

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