Syria's World Cup hopes come to end

Tim Cahill celebrates after scoring the Socceroos second goal during the World Cup Asian Playoff match against Syria

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.

But the home team were rocked in the sixth minute of the reverse fixture when Omar Al Somah, dubbed the Syrian Zlatan Ibrahimovic, capitalised on a mistake from Mark Milligan and fired the minnows into a shock lead.

MASSIMO Luongo's Australia are through to the next round of Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 World Cup qualification following an extra-time win against Syria.

"It doesn't matter who we play next". Eventually that goal came and it was that man again Cahill who was in the right place at the right time.

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.

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Ahead of the game, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou dropped a selection bombshell for the crunch clash at ANZ Stadium, reportedly leaving Mooy out of his starting XI against Syria.

With the visitors seemingly holding out for penalties, their task was not made any easier when Mahmoud Al Mawas was sent off only a few minutes into the allotted 30.

"I'm not sure the charter flight is an option for this one, but you can certainly can see out there it helped us in terms of our recovery processes".

Despite praising striker Tomi Juric for his performance in the first leg draw in Malaysia on Thursday night, Postecoglou admitted that he was tempted to deploy his country's record goalscorer to unnerve the Syrian defence. The players have had to fight all the way through qualifying and they believe in themselves. They will learn their opponent on Wednesday but it looms most likely as Panama or Honduras.

Australia lost Brad Smith to injury, bringing dropped midfielder Aaron Mooy on to the pitch, but the Asian champions were back on terms in 13th minute.

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