Tomas Rogic (C) of Australia vies with Hamid Mido (L) of Syria during the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Asian Playoff match between Australia and Syria at Sydney Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Oct. 10, 2017. Australia won 2-1. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
SYDNEY, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The inspiring story of Syria's 2018 Russia World Cup campaign has come to an end on Tuesday, going down in the Asian playoff to Australia 2-1 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
After an even first leg in Malaysia that ended 1-1, it was an action packed opening 15 minutes with Syrian star striker Omar Alsoma scoring just six minutes in when he blasted a spectacular left foot strike past Aussie goalkeeper Matt Ryan.
But it didn't take the 42,000 stunned fans long to celebrate, shortly after Tim Cahill scored a header in the 13th minute from a perfectly placed cross from forward Matthew Leckie.
As the first half continued both sides had their chances, but with the introduction of Aaron Mooy to the central midfield in the 10th minute, after being left out of the starting line up, the Aussie immediately began to dominate possession and control the game.
Embattled manager Ange Postecoglou explained to Xinhua after the match, that he made the tactical decision to bench Mooy because "we wanted to be a little bit more aggressive in attack."
"That's the beauty of having depth in the squad, we have a number of options," he said.
Although the Socceroos went desperately close to sealing victory in the second half, some incredible saves by Syrian goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma kept the underdogs in the match.
But a second yellow card to midfielder Mahmoud Almawas in the 95th minute made the challenge even greater for the Syrians.
As a result the visitors weren't able to hold out much longer and in the 109th minute, a second Tim Cahill header ensured the win for the home side.
Australia will now face a yet to be determined opponent from North or central America during November, to decide who gets the final place in next year's World Cup competition.