Henrique led an injury-plagued Brisbane Roar side to a 3-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday. The Brazilian scored twice in the second half before Matt Smith finished the visitors off with a late goal of his own. Neither side was close to full strength but the Roar's depth showed as they eventually brushed aside the league's last place team.
With star striker Besart Berisha out again, marauding defender Shane Stefanutto hobbled during the week and Liam Miller missing, Brisbane had every excuse to struggle offensively. Last weekend, with Berisha out, the Roar lost 1-0 to Melbourne Victory, so a rebound was expected but made more difficult by the increase in absences. The Heart were early aggressors but failed to capitalize on chances, mostly notably when Iain Ramsay could not direct an Andrea Migliorini cross on target after just six minutes. Michael Mifsud also had a good look in the first fifteen minutes.
Heart were without Harry Kewell again while they also missed defender Patrick Kisnorbo who has a knee injury. Yet they started brightly and were probably the better side even through half-time. But the second half was all about the Roar with Henrique taking his place at the top of the list. Three minutes after the break, Luke Brattan chipped to Henrique who played the ball down off his chest and volleyed in the opener. Heart almost equalized with Ramsay smacking the post with a driven shot from outside the box but it was Henrique again who doubled the home side's advantage.
The Brazilian knocked in a rebound after Andrew Redmayne stopped an initial Dmitri Petratos shot. With a 2-0 lead after 65 minutes, the Roar cruised through the finish, including adding a third when captain Matt Smith scored from a Matt McKay assist in the 77th minute. The result will be disappointing for Heart as they were very much in the game for the better part of an hour. But winning at Brisbane is no easy task, even if the Roar were so shorthanded. All three points send Brisbane back to the top of the ladder while Heart drift to the wooden spoon position through four rounds.
Next weekend the Roar have a very difficult challenge, playing on Sunday November 10 at Bluetongue Stadium against championship holders Central Coast Mariners. Heart are in the A-League's Friday night showcase on November 8 with a home game against surging Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park.
BRI Henrique (Brattan) 48'
BRI Henrique 65'
BRI Smith (McKay) 77'
Brisbane Roar: Theo; Brown, Smith, North, Hingert; McKay, Brattan (Ferreira 79'), Henrique (Borrello 73'); Broich, Yeboah (Petratos 64'), Franjic
Unused subs: Acton, Donachie
Melbourne Heart: Redmayne; Behich, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Walker; Migliorini (Mauk 69'), Murdocca; Ramsay (Mebrahtu 78'), Williams, Dugandzic (Retre 88'); Mifsud
Unused subs: Velaphi, Vrankovic