Australia has made it through to the last stage of qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia thanks to a Tim Cahill double against Syria at ANZ Stadium.
The Socceroos made hard work of it though, letting in a goal in the 6th minute to Syrian striker Omar Al Soma.
An errant pass from Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan led to Al Soma being put through and scoring with a composed left-footed finish in front of over 42,000 stunned fans in Homebush.
Australia were quick to hit back though, with a brilliant early curling cross from Mathew Leckie leading to Cahill heading home on the 13th minute.
Manager Ange Postecoglou had been forced into a change in the 11th minute, having to bring Aaron Mooy — a shock bench starter — into the fray for the injured Brad Smith.
The game then stayed on a knife edge, with Australia creating much the better chances but unable to break down the resolute Syrians.
The game was 1-1 after full time, meaning extra time was needed to separate the two.
Penalties loomed despite Syria’s Mahmoud al Mawas being sent off for a second yellow card in the 94th minute until Tim Cahill — who else? — rose to connect with a Robbie Kruse cross in the 109th minute to send the Aussie fans into raptures.
The last nervous moment for the Socceroos came in the 120th minute when Al Soma cracked a brilliant free kick effort off the post, but Australia eventually emerged 2-1 victors on the night and 3-2 on aggregate across the two legs.
Australia will now play the fourth placed team from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football group, which will be either Honduras, Panama or the United States — most likely Panama or Honduras.
The first game will be played away in the week beginning the 6th of November, while the second leg will be at ANZ Stadium on the 14th.
Leckie and central midfielder Mark Milligan will both miss the first leg suspended due to accumulation of yellow cards.