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11 October 2017, 12:26 | Andy Ferguson
It's Tim, facing dismissal from World Cup qualification Socceroos saved by Cahill
A team from a war-ravaged country, organised on a shoe-string budget, who have played all their fixtures outside their homeland, and ranked 75 in the world, was on the verge of qualifying for the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup finals.
Syrian hearts broke this afternoon after the team lost to Australia in a nail-biting World Cup Qualifier. "He's got an global record that stacks up against the best".
Syria's dreams of a World Cup debut was dashed by Tim Cahill's aerial prowess as Australia's record goal-scorer converted an extra-time header - his second of the match - to put his side into a play-off. Extra time was inevitable.
Mahmoud Al Mawas was sent off for a second bookable offence following a rash challenge on Robbie Kruse in the 94th minute.
An Australia goal looked inevitable and finally came when Cahill again headed home ten minutes from time.
There was still time for one dramatic twist when Al Soma lined up a 28-meter free-kick in added time but his shot crashed against the post with the goalkeeper beaten.
"Timmy was Timmy and that's simply why he's the greatest ever", Postecoglou said.
"It doesn't matter who we play next".
Syrian soccer fans who live in Lebanon, applaud while watching the Soccer World Cup qualifying match between Syria and Australia, at a coffee shop in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.
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Australia is the clear favorite to earn a ticket to Russian Federation as the Oceanic side has qualified for the World Cup since 2006.
He just hoped to receive as much financial support as possible for the cut-throat tie consisting of one away game and another back at ANZ Stadium on to-be-confirmed dates between November 6 and 14.
But, after 110 minutes, Australian stalwart Tim Cahill popped up with a 50th goal for his country to send the Socceroos through to the intercontinental play-off.
With penalties on the horizon, Syria seemed desperate to hold on. "I'm proud of everything we have done together".
And while that sounds positive, Australia still needed to step up the intensity to ensure it progresses with certainty. The players have had to fight all the way through qualifying and they believe in themselves. Fortunately for him, the negative impact of this gamble was short lived.
As the first half continued both sides had their chances, but with the introduction of Aaron Mooy to the central midfield in the 10th minute, after being left out of the starting line up, the Aussies immediately began to dominate possession and control the game.
An injury to Brad Smith soon after saw Mooy brought on just a few minutes later, allaying whatever fuss was caused by Ange Postecoglou's selection.
But it was nearly inevitable that the match wasn't going to make it to the penalty shoot-out and similarly inevitable it would take Cahill to get the Aussies over the line in the second half of extra time. Ultimately, Postecoglou's blushes were spared as Mooy played Kruse clean through to cross for Cahill's victor. They will learn their opponent on Wednesday but it looms most likely as Panama or Honduras.
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