Wed, Oct 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Australia edge Syria in Asian playoff

Reuters, SYDNEY

Tim Cahill yesterday scored twice, including the extra-time winner, as Australia kept their FIFA World Cup hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over Syria in the second leg of the Asian playoff.

The 3-2 aggregate victory sends the Socceroos into an intercontinental playoff next month against the fourth-placed team in North and Central America and Caribbean qualifying with a World Cup finals spot on the line.

Cahill scored Australia’s opener with a trademark header in the 13th minute, but it was not until 96 minutes later that he kept alive his nation’s hopes of a fourth successive appearance at the World Cup finals with his 50th international goal.

“I knew I was going to score, I didn’t touch the ball much, but in the end I delivered,” said Cahill, who has played at the past three World Cup finals. “That’s what I’ve done my whole life and I’ll continue to do it.”

The US, Panama and Honduras, the three nations who could provide the opposition in the intercontinental playoff, were due to play their final qualifiers later yesterday.

Syria, who had to play all their “home” qualifiers in Malaysia because of the security situation in their war-torn nation, fought until the very end of the match, but ultimately came up short in their bid for a maiden World Cup finals spot.

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