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Socceroos 2 Syria 1

Socceroos 2 Syria 1

Tim Cahill scored an extra-time victor to keep Australia's World Cup hopes alive with a 2-1 win in the Asian qualifying playoff on Tuesday which dashed war-torn Syria's fairytale bid to reach the finals for the first time.

Three quick thoughts on Australia 2-1 Syria (Australia through 3-2 on aggregate) in the second leg of the Asian playoff in World Cup qualifying.

Omar al-Soma's free kick crashed into the post with moments to go, ending war-torn Syria's World Cup hopes and allowing Tim Cahill's Australians to squeeze into the final playoff for a spot in Russian Federation.

With no further goals in the 90 minutes the game went to extra-time and, after Mahmoud Al Mawas was dismissed for his second bookable offence, Australian pressure finally paid off as Cahill headed home in the 109th minute to break Syrian hearts.

Having made his worldwide debut for Australia in 2004, a 37-year-old Tim Cahill scored his 49th and 50th goal for the Socceroos in today's World Cup playoff against Syria.

Who else but Cahill could come up with such heroics?

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Those days are long gone, and Cahill is now more of a squad player, but he remains the Socceroos' greatest big-game performer. Robbie Kruse found space on the left-edge of the box and crossed for Cahill to head in his 50th global goal for Australia.

Australia dominated the remainder of the first half, with Syrian skipper Zaher Medani blocking a Cahill shot after one flowing move and goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma force to save James Troisi and Leckie efforts.

"In the last half-hour the two best chances Syria created were the penalty and they hit the post after the ball was probably a metre over the line", he said. "I'm proud of everything we have done together".

Australia only needed a draw to qualify. Postecoglou said. "He's got real belief in himself". The Aussies will face the fourth-placed side in the "Hex", with USA, Panama or Honduras all potential opponents for them next month.

Despite that, after just 11 minutes and an unfortunately early injury to winger Brad Smith, Postecoglou was forced to bring Mooy on as a substitute and the change to Australia's attack was instantly noticeable.