A stunning goal from spearhead Henrique has guided resurgent Brisbane Roar to a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
In warm, summery conditions, the out-of-sorts Reds, minus playmaker Marcelo Carrusca and stopper Nigel Boogaard, lacked polish in both midfield and attack, regularly stymied by the visitors’ impressive defence.
Henrique’s marvellous strike ultimately separated the two sides, the Roar almost extending their lead through Dimitri Petratos moments later and United right back Tarek Elrich, who narrowly avoided conceding an own goal.
The home side then blew a golden chance to equalise when Sergio Cirio fluffed a gimme in the 58th minute.
The result, which enabled Brisbane to keep their finals hopes in tact, was Adelaide’s first defeat at home in 371 days – which also came against the Roar.
WHAT THEY SAID
Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith
“It’s been a big couple of the weeks and the boys kept the ball very well. We took our chance and could’ve scored a couple more. I guess we like to play here.
“I’ve pretty much spent all of my career here. To have the Championships and the Leagues but not only that it’s the day-to-day stuff (that I’ll miss). They’re a very good group of boys.
“I completely understand where the club and coaching staff are going. I’m really pleased I managed to get a few minutes at the end and play with this team one last time.”
0-1 Henrique (18′)
With Corey Brown overlapping grandly on the outside and diverting United’s focus, Henrique cut in from the left-hand side towards the box and from 25 yards, cracked a missile into the top right corner past flat-footed Eugene Galekovic, who never stood a chance.
Adelaide should have squared it at 1-1 in the 58th minute when, after an errant Brown pass, Djite drew James Donachie and worked the ball to Cirio.
With Roar keeper Jamie Young off his line, Cirio shanked an absolute dolly wide of the mark which proved fatal.
In the space of three furious minutes, Brisbane almost opened a two-goal lead with some splendid attacking play.
Henrique was in everything early, finding the back of the net spectacularly in the 18th, before unselfishly laying one off to Petratos, who cracked a bullet into the post, received the rebound, then blazed high on the follow-up.
OPTA DAYA KEY STAT
Brisbane have accrued 11 goals this season. Henrique has collected a whopping seven of them, or almost two-thirds.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Mabil’s bursting run along the right flank and incisive cross found James Jeggo who, inexplicably and comically, falconed the ball into his own face with his shot attempt, which proved sadly indicative of Adelaide’s waywardness in attack.
Ten minutes after rifling his sublime goal, Henrique injured his right knee in a collision with Dylan McGowan, who tackled the Brisbane marksman from behind.
Henrique hobbled to the sidelines briefly before resuming, but was clearly hampered and substituted out of the contest before half-time.
THE FINAL WORD
The Reds’ finishing hasn’t been a strength recently and it proved costly against Brisbane.
The rare home loss will be momentarily forgotten however if Adelaide can collected some nice silverware when they host Perth Glory in the inaugural FFA Cup final this Tuesday.
The Roar can cool their heels until after Christmas, their next assignment coming at Gosford against the Central Coast Mariners on December 27, the perfect chance to springboard a revival.