Syria’s unlikely 2018 World Cup dream is over after Tim Cahill’s extra-time header saw Australia progress 3-2 on aggregate to the final qualifying tie.

Omar Al Somah gave the civil war-torn nation hope of reaching Russia when he gave them an early lead in Sydney.

But Cahill, 37, quickly equalised with the first of his two headed goals.

Syria, who drew 1-1 in the first leg, were reduced to 10 men when Mahmoud Al Mawas was sent off before Cahill nodded in Robbie Kruse’s cross for the winner.

Australia will now play either Panama, Honduras or the US from the Concacaf section for a place in the finals.

Syrian state TV broadcasting was dominated by coverage of the country’s match against Australia.

It aired special programming, with live footage of huge crowds in Damascus’s Umayyad Square, Aleppo, Homs and Sweida.

Shadi Helweh, usually the channel’s war correspondent and who famously covered the landmark recapture of the city by government forces in December last year, was drafted in to report on the huge crowds in Aleppo.

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