Tim Cahill Eliminates Syria From World Cup Qualification With Extra-Time Header


The war-torn country, managed by Ayman Hakeem, continue their unlikely march towards a maiden World Cup finals appearance with a 1-1 draw in the first leg meaning the tie is in the balance.

The message was a simple one for the Socceroos' second-leg FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Syria in Sydney on Tuesday night - win or draw and Australia's hopes of heading to Russian Federation in 2018 stay alive.

Unsurprisingly Australia immediately looked more settled, as the Huddersfield talisman calmed the midfield and linked up with an eager Robbie Kruse on the left.

"I think the longer the game went on we got a good stranglehold", Milligan told Fox Sports post-match. "The players showed tremendous character".

Australia, ranked 25 places higher than Syria in the Federation Internationale de Football Association standings at No 50, looked likely to get the win in the second half, but Leckie headed inches wide and Tom Rogic forced a fine save from goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma.

But for a matter of inches, it could have been Syria striker al-Soma getting all the accolades.

Syria were reduced to 10 men in the 94th minute and the Socceroos took advantage of the numerical advantage and took the lead in the 109th minute, thanks to the 37-year-old Cahill.

The venue of the match is at Stadium Australia, Sydney.

Australia made hard work of their win, having also drawn the first leg 1-1 in Malaysia last week, as they were forced to come from behind in Sydney.

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The crowd burst into victorious chants and celebrations. If it does, the two games will be Postecoglou's last in charge of the national team.

"I am very proud of my boys with what they have achieved", al-Hakim said. "At the end there are mistakes in soccer".

Cahill starting up front in place of Tomi Juric could be said to have been vindicated by his equalising header and eventual victor, but throughout regular time the Socceroos missed the structure Juric would have brought to the attacking line.

The Australians had to wait for qualifying in CONCACAF to conclude later Tuesday to learn whether they would next play Honduras, Panama or perhaps even the United States.

"He's really turning into an accomplished global player as well as a league player, and I'm rapt for him. This is my passion".

In the meantime, the Celtic star will now return to Scotland.

The game then stayed on a knife edge, with Australia creating much the better chances but unable to break down the resolute Syrians.

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.

"I'll run to the end for these players and this manager".