Tim Cahill scored a brace on Tuesday night in the Socceroos 2-1 victory over Syria, helping to book Australia’s place in a final qualifying tie for next year’s World Cup finals.
Syria had opened the scoring through Omar Al Soma. The forward had scored last week’s goal in their 1-1 draw in Malaysia in the first tie that set up the tense game in Sydney.
After the ball was slipped through to Al Soma, behind the Socceroo defence he lifted the ball expertly over the onrushing Ryan with a low left-footed shot to give them a 6th minute opener and with it real hope of Syria reaching their first World Cup final.
Tim Cahill who was surprisingly left out of last weeks starting lineup restored parity in the 13th minute after Mathew Leckie provided the perfect cross for the former Everton midfielder to put into the net.
But even at this point Socerroo manager Ange Postecoglou didn’t doubt the ability of his players.
“I had belief in the players and in what we do,” Postecoglou said after the match.
“I have real conviction in the way we do things and part of that process is that we know we wear teams down and they have to work awfully hard to stay with us. That’s the kind of game we’re built for and we keep going right until the end and make sure when the whistle goes, we’re the ones still standing.”
The winner was scored during extra time with a brace from Cahill. Aaron Mooy worked space down the left for Kruse and his perfect cross found a leaping Cahill to power home beyond a despairing Alma for goal number 50 for Australia.
The Socceroos now face Honduras in an away leg on November 9 before a return home trip in Sydney on November 14.