Ryan thwarts controversial Syrian goal attempt

The Socceroos had Mat Ryan to thank for a stunning save that denied Syria what would have been a highly controversial second half goal in their World Cup qualifying playoff in Malaysia.

Australia were 1-0 ahead deep into the second half after Robbie Kruse's clever flick gave the visitors the lead five minutes before halftime.

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Tomi Juric was cruelly denied the chance to put the game to bed after the break when two shots struck the same post within a matter of seconds.

That miss ultimately came back to bite the Aussies when Syria salvaged a 1-1 draw in the 85th minute, following a controversial penalty against Mathew Leckie.

However, it could have been much worse for the Socceroos if it wasn't for Ryan's second half heroics.

The Aussie keeper was called into action on the 77-minute mark to incredibly deny Syria's Soma a headed goal from point-blank range.

Ryan somehow managed to touch the effort onto the bar, however, replays showed the ball had clearly gone out before it was crossed into the penalty area.

Ryan prevented what would have been a contentious goal. Pic: Fox Sports

The Brighton shot-stopper again proved his worth late in the game by clawing away a Moayad al-Ajan rocket that was destined for the top corner.

Ryan's saves could prove crucial in the final wash-up as the Socceroos prepare for Tuesday night's all-important second leg in Sydney.