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Australia beat 10-man Syria in World Cup play-off

Veteran striker Tim Cahill scored deep into extra time to take Australia a big step closer to next year's World Cup.

Published: 10th October 2017 06:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2017 06:35 PM   |  A+A-

Australia's Robbie Kruse takes on the Syrian defence as Australia defeated Syria in their 2018 World Cup football qualifying match played in Sydney on October 10, 2017. |AFP

Australia's Robbie Kruse takes on the Syrian defence as Australia defeated Syria in their 2018 World Cup football qualifying match played in Sydney on October 10, 2017. |AFP

By AFP

SYDNEY: Veteran striker Tim Cahill scored deep into extra time to take Australia a big step closer to next year's World Cup and end war-torn Syria's fairytale run in the play-offs on Tuesday.

Cahill, 37, cancelled out Omar al-Soma's opener in the first half before he leapt to head Australia's precious second goal in the 109th minute for a 2-1 win in the second leg.

After last week's 1-1 draw in Malaysia, Australia won 3-2 on aggregate to reach a final play-off against the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF federation, currently Panama.

Syria have never reached the World Cup and their hopes suffered a massive blow when Mahmoud al-Mawas was sent off for a second bookable offence in the fourth minute of extra time.

As penalties beckoned, Robbie Kruse sent over a cross from the byline and Cahill out-jumped his marker to power a header past the diving Ibrahim Alma.

There was huge drama in the dying seconds, when Soma juddered the right post with a vicious free kick. But Australia survived to stay on track for their fourth straight World Cup.



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