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Cahill the hero as Socceroos see off Syria

11 October 2017
Cahill the hero as Socceroos see off Syria

As they did in the first leg, Australia started the match with intent but without much of a cutting edge.

"I said when he broke the 100 games that he's a great Australian sportsman, beyond our sport", he told Fox Sports.

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.

Some argue that Syria should not have been allowed to compete because of political interference and others have argued that Syria competing and doing well normalises the situation and makes it seem like everything is fine.

The Socceroos were the dominant force at ANZ Stadium but struggled to turn their possession into meaningful chances and were often thwarted by goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma.

Aaron Mooy is a surprise benching for the Socceroos' vital World Cup qualifier against Syria.

But thanks to Cahill, Postecoglou's men held on and the Aussie hero said: "For me I'm just glad the boss gave me the opportunity and believed in me to leave me out there".

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.

With Tim Cahill essentially operating as a lone striker for Australia, the former Millwall and Everton man restored parity 6 minutes later - a smart header from Matt Leckie's cross.

"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".

The civil war-torn nation had made an unlikely journey to the qualifying round just before the play-off's, and carried hope into the tie after a 1-1 draw in the opening leg. They will learn their opponent on Wednesday but it looms most likely as Panama or Honduras.

Prior to the game, Syrian and Australian fans gathered outside the ground where supporters were photographed jovially mixing and some placed small Australian flags on a larger Syrian flag in an apparent show of support for the country.