Tim Cahill brace puts end to Syria's World Cup dream

The veteran midfielder scored two headed goals to put Australia through.

Tim Cahill brace puts end to Syria's World Cup dream
Syrian players collapse at the final whistle (photo: Getty Images / Mark Metcalfe)

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 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. 

However, two Tim Cahill goals meant that the dream came to an end in an unfortunate fashion.

Dream dies

The nation had been forced to play their home games in Malaysia throughout the qualifying process, security concerns having hampered any prospect of hosting games back in their own country.

Beating Uzbekistan to set up a meeting with Australia, they drew 1-1 last week in Malaysia to leave themselves with a fighting chance of making the next round.

That chance looked to have increased after six minutes of Tuesday's game, Omar Al Somah taking advantage as Australia lost the ball in midfield to crash home with his left foot.

However, it didn't take long for Australia to level the scores, Cahill finding the net on the end of Matthew Leckie's cross to head home.

Having equalised so quickly, Australia seemed to take confidence that they could successfully take control of the game and did so, but struggled to prize open the Syria defence.

Red card the catalyst for winner

Australia were still pushing when the clock went past the 90 minute mark, the tie forced to extra time after two 1-1 draw's. 

Their task was made easier as Syria were reduced to ten men five minutes into extra time, Mahmoud Al Mawas with a late challenge on Robbie Kruse earning a second yellow card.

With penalties on the horizon, Syria seemed desperate to hold on. Cahill had other ideas, his 50th international goal and second of the game coming off another cross, Kruse the provider this time as he headed home to send Australia through and knock Syria out.

 

International Football