Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

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

The 3-2 aggregate victory sends the Socceroos into a playoff in November against the fourth-placed team in North and Central America and Caribbean qualifying with a World Cup 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 threw his country a lifeline for 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 last three World Cups. "That’s what I’ve done my whole life and I’ll continue to do it."

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

Syria, who had to play all their "home" qualifiers in Malaysia because of the war in their country, fought until the very end of the match for what would have been their maiden World Cup spot.


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