The 32-year-old, who played in an attacking role alongside Nikica Jelavic, was busy throughout the game and won praise from assistant manager Steve Round was said he was "terrific" and "full of energy".
Sunderland had gone ahead through Phil Bardsley, before Cahill instinctively re-directed Jelavic's goalbound header on 24 minutes to level.
The Australian also had further chances, forcing good saves from Black Cats goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a header and a long-range strike.
Meanwhile, in the English Premier League on Saturday, Mark Schwarzer did not have his best outing on the back of last Saturday's mistake against Aston Villa, as Fulham crashed to a 3-0 loss at home to Swansea City.
Schwarzer took too long on the ball early in the first half and allowed Swansea a chance, but did well to deny Danny Graham.
However, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a double, before Joe Allen added a late third with a shot the Australian might have done better with, as it seemed to bobble over his outstretched right arm.
In Japan's J-League on Saturday, Alex Brosque maintained his fine goalscoring form with the opener in Shimizu S-Pulse's 2-1 victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Brosque, who scored a double in Australia's 4-2 win over Saudi Arabia in February, netted on nine minutes against Sanfrecce, playing a full game and picking up a booking.
In China's Super League on Friday, Joel Griffiths made it two goals from two games as Shanghai Shenhua lost 3-2 against his former club Beijing Guoan.
Guoan raced two goals ahead, before Griffiths won a penalty after his header hit a Guoan's defender hand. The Australian coolly converted the spotkick on 62 minutes.
Minutes later he pounced on a wayward backpass, only to see his effort saved by Guoan goalkeeper Hou Sen. But the ball fell into the path of big-name signing Nicolas Anelka, who equalised. However, Guoan would win it through Mao Jianqing on 82 minutes.
|STAR OF THE WEEKEND
Appeared to have re-discovered some vintage form with an energetic and busy display against Sunderland
Brad Jones (Liverpool): Was not in the squad for the 2-1 FA Cup win over Stoke City.
Ryan Williams (Fulham): Not in the squad for the 3-0 home loss to Swansea.
Adam Federici (Reading): Put in a full shift and kept a clean sheet, although he was not particularly busy, in the 4-0 win at Barnsley.
Richard Garcia (Hull City): Not in the squad for the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.
Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace): Played a full game in the 0-0 draw with Hull. Had a good chance to score, but pushed his header over the crossbar.
Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City): Was an unused substitute in the 0-0 draw with fellow relegation battlers Portsmouth.
Paddy Kisnorbo (Leeds United): Out injured (knee) for the 1-1 draw with West Ham.
Shane Lowry (Millwall): Out injured (ankle) for the 3-2 home loss to leaders Southampton.
Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough): Out injured (knee) for the 3-0 loss at Birmingham City.
Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough): Out injured (ankle) for the loss at Birmingham.
Dean Bouzanis (Oldham): Was an unused substitute in the 3-2 loss at Rochdale.
Alex Cisak (Oldham): Played a full game in the loss at Rochdale.
James Wesolowski (Oldham): Out injured (shoulder) for the loss to Rochdale.
Bailey Wright (Preston): Put in a full shift in defence in the 2-1 win at Exeter.
Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund): Was an unused substitute in the narrow 1-0 win over Werder Bremen which keeps his side five points clear at the top.
Mathew Leckie (Borussia Monchengladbach): Was an unused sub in the 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen which keeps the Foals in third.
Nikita Rukavytsya (Hertha Berlin): Played a full game on the flank in 6-0 home defeat to in-form Bayern Munich. Rukavytsya had an early penalty shout when brought down by David Alaba, but the referee waved play on and it did seem a bit soft.
Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf): Scheduled to face Energie Cottbus on Monday but unlikely to feature due to a calf injury.
Jason Davidson (Heracles): Was not in the squad for the 2-0 loss at Vitesse.
Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar): Started and played 65 minutes, which included a stinging first-half drive which was well saved, as his side dropped points after a 0-0 home draw with NAC Breda.
Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht): Was an unused substitute in the 3-1 victory over FC Groningen.
Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht): Not in the squad in the win over Groningen.
Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht): Returned to the starting line-up for the suspended Dave Bulthuis and played a full game in the win over Groningen.
Carl Valeri (Sassuolo): Put in a full shift as Sassuolo revived their promotion hopes ending their four-game winless run, scoring three goals in the final 25 minutes to defeat AlbinoLeffe 3-2.
Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow): Not in the squad for the 5-1 home loss to Zenit St Petersburg.
Kerem Bulut (Eskisehirspor): Not in the squad for the 0-0 draw away to Antalyaspor.
James Troisi (Kayserispor): Played a full game as his side won 2-0 over Samsunspor.
Ryan McGowan (Hearts): Was a 79th-minute substitute in his side's 2-0 league win over Hibernian.
Aaron Mooy (St Mirren): Was a 78th-minute substitute in the 3-0 home loss to St Johnstone in the league.
Nathan Coe (SonderjyskE): Played a full game in the 4-2 home loss to Silkeborg.
Brent McGrath (Brondby): Was not in the squad for the 2-1 win at Nordsjaelland.
James Holland (Austria Vienna): Was an unused substitute in the goalless draw away to Wiener Neustadt.
Joshua Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus): Played a full game in attack in the 3-2 loss at FC Tokyo.
Jade North (Consadole Sapporo): Put in a full shift in the 2-1 loss away to Vissel Kobe.
Matt Spiranovic (Urawa Reds): Not in the squad for the 1-0 win over champions Kashiwa Reysol.
Eddy Bosnar (Suwon Bluewings): Played a full game in the 3-0 victory over Gangwon FC.
Nathan Burns (Incheon United): Out injured for the 1-0 loss away to Daegu FC.
Robbie Cornthwaite (Chunnam Dragons): Played a full game and picked up a yellow card in the 1-1 draw away to champions Jeonbuk Motors.
Luke DeVere (Gyeongnam FC): Put in a full shift in the 3-2 home defeat to Sangju Sangmu.
Matt McKay (Busan I'Park): Played a full game in the 2-2 draw away to Pohang Steelers.
Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United): Put in a full shift in the 3-2 loss away to Gwangju FC.
Sasa Ognenovski (Seongnam Ilhwa): Played a full 90 minutes in the 3-0 loss to Ulsan Hyundai.
Matt Simon (Chunnam Dragons): Not in the squad in the 1-1 draw at Jeonbuk.
Dino Djulbic (Shaanxi Chanba): Played a full game in the 1-1 draw with Liaoning Whowin.
Rostyn Griffiths (Guangzhou R&P): Was a 64th-minute substitute in the 2-0 victory over champions and city rivals Guangzhou Evergrande.
Mile Sterjovski (Dalian Aerbin): Played a full game in the 3-3 draw with Dalian Shide.
Milan Susak (Tianjin Teda): Was an unused substitute in the 2-1 loss away to Qingdao Jonoon.
Mark Bresciano (Al Nasr): Played a full game in the 1-0 home loss to Dubai, which dents his side's title ambitions.
Lucas Neill (Al Jazira): Put in a full shift in the 1-0 victory over Diego Maradona's Al Wasl which lifted his side into second on the table.
Which Australian playing abroad impressed you most this weekend? Let us know below!
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