Australia shatter Syria's World Cup dream with extra time victor

Doug Mendoza
October 11, 2017

Australia's 2-1 win puts them through from the Asian play-off 3-2 on aggregate and they will next face a team from the North and Central America region, yet to be decided, over two legs in November for a place at Russian Federation 2018.

Australia proved a step too far for Syria, as they crashed out of their World Cup qualifying tie 3-2 on aggregate, losing 2-1 on Tuesday.

The Syrian dream of their first ever World Cup appearance was shattered in the second half of extra time in Australia when Tim Cahill headed in his second goal of the match with 11 minutes remaining.

Syria coach Ayman al-Hakim said Mahmoud al-Mawas's extra-time red card was the turning point as his war-torn team's fairytale World Cup bid ended in the Asian play-offs on Tuesday.

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

Tomi Juric came on for Tom Rogic as the match ticked into extra-time, but it would be Cahill - the man who snared his starting spot - who sent the ball into the netting and the fans into delirium, registering his 50th global goal in the process.

Tim Cahill of Australia (left) celebrates with teammate after scoring against Syria during the match, played in Sydney.

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Who else but Cahill could come up with such heroics?

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

"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".

Calmed by their equaliser, Australia began to dictate the play and looked the most likely to score the third goal, with Leckie denied by goalkeeper Alma and Tom Rogic firing narrowly wide of the right-hand post. The players have had to fight all the way through qualifying and they believe in themselves.

For the next 30 minutes Al Hakim fumed in his technical area until the full-time whistle blew and he was free to let loose on Ange Postecoglou.

However, the United States could yet finish fourth should they lose and one of Panama and Honduras win against Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively.

An injury to left-back Brad Smith after just five minutes later rather fortuitously saw Mooy enter the fray perhaps earlier than anticipated, but at a goal down Postecoglou surely realised he had no choice but to introduce the Huddersfield midfielder.

Other reports by GizPress

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