Tim Cahill does it again for the Socceroos

Leader Tim Cahill

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War-torn Syria's hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup ended in a 2-1 extra-time loss to Australia.

Syria and Australia drew 1-1 on Thursday in the first leg of their World Cup play-off.

When the sole deep midfielder, Mark Milligan coughed-up possession, Syria's Tamer Haj Mohammed exposed the systems flaws by breaking through the middle unopposed.

Another fan, Kobe, said: "I'd like to see them go to the World Cup".

"Timmy was Timmy, that's why he's the greatest ever".

"He's just got real belief in himself, a real unique and extraordinary individual and he led from the front today".

But for a matter of inches, it could have been Syria striker al-Soma getting all the accolades.

Syria are striving to make their World Cup debut after a marathon qualifying run that has defied the raging civil war in their home country.

The crowd burst into victorious chants and celebrations.

And if the sizable following of Syrian fans inside Sydney's Allianz Stadium had begun to dream of Russian Federation, they were left deflated just seven minutes later.

The victor of this match will play in a play-off versus a team from CONCACAF.

Syria threatened with an early counter-attack and it was a warning Australia failed to heed, as they gifted the visitors the lead in only the sixth minute.

The advantage turned Australia's way on 94 minutes when Mahmoud Al Maowas crudely brought down Robbie Kruse on the left touchline, and was shown a second yellow card. The players followed instruction very, very well.

The move is a huge gamble given Mooy was the standout in Malaysia, and one that will elicit big questions should Australia fail to progress to a final play-off.

Australia will now play either Panama, Honduras or the U.S. for a place in the finals. I'd hazard to think when the last time he played 90 minutes was, let alone 120. "This is my passion".

"It was a hard luck for the Syrian team that has wasted no chance to win", said Maher Awad, a 20-year-old university student.

Rogic, chief tormentor, drew the best save of the game from Alma with a placed right shot in the 68th minute before shaving the post with a curling effort a minute later.

It was al-Soma's second goal against Australia in five days after he won and converted a penalty kick in the 85th minute of the first leg.

"I'll run to the end for these players and this manager". "I'm proud of everything we have done together".

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