A late goal from David Alaba helped Austria see off the Republic of Ireland by a solitary goal and set up a crunch tie with Sweden on 11 October.
The FC Bayern München man struck six minutes from time in Vienna to seal the three points and leave Ireland's hopes hanging by a thread. Austria now lie three points behind the second-placed Swedes with two games to play and the nations meet in their penultimate match to battle for a likely play-off spot, with Germany well clear at the head of Group C.
Both teams started nervously and chances were few and far between in the early stages. It was Ireland who slowly took command towards the end of the first half and almost took advantage of a defensive slip up by Austria with the interval approaching but Anthony Pilkington's effort slipped wide.
Marcel Koller's men reacted after the break with Alaba forcing a sharp save out of David Forde but Andreas Weimann was unable to turn in the rebound. Ireland threatened from distance on a few occasions but Austria stepped up the intensity and should have been ahead when Weimann connected with a Christian Fuchs cross, but Forde was up to the task once again.
It was mostly one-way traffic after the save as Austria had efforts from Martin Harnik and substitute Marko Arnautovic cleared off the line before Alaba came to the rescue; Fuchs' cross somehow found a way to the Bayern full-back, who fired it high into the net from six metres.