Cahill scores extra-time winner to keep Australia alive

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 sent the Socceroos into an intercontinental playoff in November against the fourth-placed team in North and Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) 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 kept his country on course for a fourth successive appearance at the World Cup finals with his 50th international goal.

Syria made the perfect start when Omar Al Somah scored in the sixth minute to cancel out Australia's away-goal advantage from the 1-1 first-leg draw but the war-torn nation's dreams of securing a maiden World Cup appearance were dashed.