Postecoglou hails Australia hero Cahill as ´a unique, extraordinary individual´

Syria fans

Tim Cahill scored both goals on Tuesday as Australia defeated Syria, 2-1, in extra time to win the Asian playoff, 3-2 on aggregate, and advance to a second round of playoffs for a berth in Russian Federation 2018.

Cahill cancelled out Omar Al Soma's shock opener before heading in a 109th-minute victor to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory and become the first player to reach 50 global goals for the Socceroos.

Mahmoud Al Mawas was shown the red card in 94th minute as a 10-man Syria fell prey to Tim Cahill's second goal of the game.

Tim Cahill rescued Australia from the brink of World Cup elimination and in the process destroyed Syria's dream of qualifying for next summer's tournament in Russian Federation.

Having made his global debut for Australia in 2004, a 37-year-old Tim Cahill scored his 49th and 50th goal for the Socceroos in today's World Cup playoff against Syria. Eventually that goal came and it was that man again Cahill who was in the right place at the right time.

Cahill was already the country's all-time leading scorer but his vital second goal was his 50th for his country.

Mark Milligan's stray pass in midfield was pounced upon by Tamer Haj Mohamad, who drove at the heart of the Australia defense.

Tim Cahill of Australia (left) celebrates with teammate after scoring against Syria during the match, played in Sydney.

With their country still embroiled in a vicious civil war, Syria have been playing their "home" games in Malaysia.

"In the last half-hour the two best chances Syria created were the penalty and they hit the post after the ball was probably a metre over the line", he said.

Australia only needed a draw to qualify.

For the next 30 minutes Al Hakim fumed in his technical area until the full-time whistle blew and he was free to let loose on Ange Postecoglou.

Australia lost Brad Smith to injury, bringing dropped midfielder Aaron Mooy on to the pitch, but the Asian champions were back on terms in 13th minute. They will learn their opponent on Wednesday but it looms most likely as Panama or Honduras.

As some of the teams' biggest fans made their way to the match, they spoke to SBS about how they were feeling about the game.