Huddersfield Town midfielder Aaron Mooy and his Australian teammates will have it all to do on Tuesday as the Socceroos were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Syria side.
The 27-year-old midfielder ran the show for Australia in the first hour, with the Terrier playing a part in Robbie Kruse's opening strike.
But Ange Postecoglou's men couldn't hold out for a vital first-leg lead as the Syrians converted a penalty with just five minutes of regular time left.
The sides will now meet in a crucial clash in Sydney on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to a final two-legged play-off against the fourth-placed CONCACAF side.
The winner of that decider will book a spot at next year's World Cup in Russia.
Mooy started brightly for the Socceroos, linking up with his teammates well and looking for long balls in behind to the Aussie's roving wing backs.
Despite Syria doubling up on Mooy, he was able to play in Kruse a couple of time throughout the match, but the VfL Bochum forward looked low on confidence and failed to sort his feet out in time to release a strike.
It was however the 2. Bundesliga man who would open the scoring in the 40th minute after a flowing Australia move.
The Socceroos made 12 passes - with Mooy making two - to switch the ball across the pitch and into the feet of Mathew Leckie on the right wing.
The Hertha Berlin forward beat his man and fired across the area, with Kruse stabbing home from close range.
It wasn't to be for Mooy's men however, as the Iranian referee pointed to the spot in the dying minutes for a soft penalty.
Omar Al Somah duly converted to set up an all-or-nothing clash in Sydney on Tuesday (10am GMT).
After the match, Mooy was left frustrated by the referee's decision to award a penalty, but remained focused on getting his team to next summer's tournament.
He said: "There was a decision that didn't go our way but you just have to recover and get ready for the next game."
On his own performance, he added: "I get confident when I'm touching the ball. It happened more so in the first half than in the second half."