On the pitch, a late Tim Cahill header in the 109th minute gave Australia the win, adding to his earlier goal to cancel out an Omar Al Somah goal after only six minutes.
Mahmoud Al Mawas was sent off for a second bookable offence following a rash challenge on Robbie Kruse in the 94th minute.
Australia has made it through to the last stage of qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation thanks to a Tim Cahill double against Syria at ANZ Stadium.
It comes as Australia looked set to start Tuesday night's high-stakes World Cup play-off without Aaron Mooy after the star midfielder was dropped to the bench.
Bayern Munich confirm Jupp Heynckes as manager until end of season
Jupp Heynckes poseing with four trophies after giving his farewell press conference in Munich, southern Germany, on June 4, 2013. Heynckes said: "I would not have returned to any other club in the world, but the FC Bayern München is a heart affair for me.
Al Khatib was introduced on the hour in the hope he could create something against the run of play but, despite the playmaker's composure on the ball, it was the Socceroos who kept pressing. Eventually that goal came and it was that man again Cahill who was in the right place at the right time.
Australia dominated the remainder of the first half, with Syrian skipper Zaher Medani blocking a Cahill shot after one flowing move and goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma force to save James Troisi and Leckie efforts.
With penalties on the horizon, Syria seemed desperate to hold on.
The only logical explanation for Mooy's omission could be the switch to a single holding midfielder in the starting XI, and Mark Milligan was given the nod in this role due to his defensive strengths.
With the CONCACAF qualifiers coming to their conclusion tonight, Australia and Tim Cahill will not have to wait long before learning their fate.
For the next 30 minutes Al Hakim fumed in his technical area until the full-time whistle blew and he was free to let loose on Ange Postecoglou. That could be Honduras or Panama or USA. If it does, the two games will be Postecoglou's last in charge of the national team.
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