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Cahill well on road for half century

AAP logoAAP 9/09/2016 Ben Mckay

Tim Cahill is just two goals away from an almighty Socceroos scoring milestone that even he sounds surprised by.

The 36-year-old is on the brink of tallying 50 international goals and with three World Cup qualifying fixtures to come in the next two months, few would bet against it happening this year.

Cahill's predatory instincts were on display once more on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, scoring the only goal of the game - and his 48th in a Socceroos shirt - as a substitute to give Australia a priceless victory.

Now within touching distance of the half-century, Cahill says it's not a motivator.

"I've never been too worried about 50 goals," he said.

"I remember a stage when I was at 38 and the question was whether I'd get to 40."

Cahill is on the brink of a half century because of his extraordinary consistency,

The striker has netted an international goal every year for the last 13, beating the next best Socceroo Graham Arnold by six years.

Football statistician Andrew Howe says it's a run even Pele couldn't manage, and a current run outdone only by England's Wayne Rooney (14 years) and matched by Cristiano Ronaldo.

In a neat piece of Australian symmetry, Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna also matches Cahill's streak in a gold shirt.

Learning of the company he kept for the first time, Cahill credited coach Ange Postecoglou for his tough-love approach.

"When you hear a stat like that, it is something to be proud of and keep you striving for more," he said.

"The way you think of it as a footballer, you're trying to get to the next camp.

"Ange has made it clear to the boys that no one has a God-given right to be here.

"Since Ange has taken over, he's always challenged me, (saying) 'why can't this be your best ever World Cup? Or best ever Asian Cup? Or your best ever camp?'."

Goal No.48 was classic Cahill.

Freeing himself from a tussle with a defender, Cahill found enough space to volley home Brad Smith's curling cross.

While admitting playing into his 30s brought challenges, Cahill said he was also benefiting from his hard-earned reputation as an international goalscorer.

"That's what I'm there to do - upset defenders," he said.

"They give me the respect I deserve because of what I've done over the past 10 years. I want to put fear into these defenders and in the end it worked in my favour."

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