SYDNEY (AP) — War-torn Syria’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup ended in a 2-1 extra-time loss to Australia.
Tim Cahill again delivered for his country with two goals in a comeback win in an Asian playoff on Tuesday that ended moments after Omar al-Soma hit the base of the post with a free kick that could have instead earned Syria the place in the final stage of qualifying.
Syria’s improbable run toward a first World Cup attracted global attention, which heightened after it salvaged a 1-1 draw in the first leg last week at its adopted home ground in Malaysia. Syria’s chances grew dramatically after it took a 1-0 lead in the return match in Sydney in the 6th minute, but Cahill’s goals in the 13th minute and in extra time secured Australia’s place in a playoff next month against the fourth-place team from North and Central America.
“I think we deserved to get through, a fantastic…