Tim Cahill does it again for the Socceroos

Harambee Stars fans expecting worse against Thailand

Syria take a heavily depleted squad to Australia for the second leg of the Asian qualifying play-off on Tuesday.

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

Nerves were settled nearly immediately as Mathew Leckie burst brilliantly down the right before hitting an inviting cross for Tim Cahill, who thumped in a headed equaliser for his 49th strike in Australian colours.

It's thought Postecoglou's tactical reshuffle is created to help the team move the ball quicker into the final third.

The score stayed level after 90 minutes, sending the pivotal game to extra-time after Syrian goalkeeper Ibrahim Almeh made a series of spectacular saves during the match.

Socceroos drew 1-1 with Syria in Malaysia last week and the 3-2 aggregate victory sent it into an intercontinental playoff in November against the fourth-placed team in North and Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) qualifying with a World Cup spot on the line.

Postecoglou singled out Cahill, who has been a star of Australia's World Cup campaigns since scoring against Japan in Germany in 2006, for his composed performance. Latching onto a cross from Hertha Berlin's Mathew Leckie, the 37-year-old planted his header into the bottom corner for his 49th global goal. Taking a break from the raging war, millions of Syrians at home and overseas cheered, shouted and bit their nails in frustration as they watched their chance to qualify for their first ever World Cup tournament end in disappointment Tuesday.




Australia was dominant by a mile as they controlled more than 75% of the ball possession and completed at least 4 times more passes than Syria.

Who else but Cahill could come up with such heroics?

Australia, ranked 50th, have played the last three World Cups, reaching the last 16 in 2006.

Australia only needed a draw to qualify.

Despite that, after just 11 minutes and an unfortunately early injury to winger Brad Smith, Postecoglou was forced to bring Mooy on as a substitute and the change to Australia's attack was instantly noticeable.

The AFC victor of Syria or Australia plays the CONCACAF 5th placed team in the play-off, which at the moment is Panama.

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