Brisbane Roar has leapfrogged into sixth place on the Hyundai A-League table with a scintillating 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium tonight.
A fifth minute penalty by Roar striker Henrique earned the three points in the Grand Final re-match and gave new Roar coach Frans Thijssen his first win with the club following a draw against Perth Glory on Saturday night in his opening match.
The win, the Roar’s first at Pirtek Stadium, proved the Champions are still a force even without talisman marquee player Thomas Broich, who underwent an arthroscopy on his ankle today and will miss up to six games.
Broich’s absence ended his run of 68 consecutive games for the Roar.
His place on the left flank was taken by Henrique, who has now scored six goals in eight games this season and the Slippery Fish gave his team the perfect start.
In the fourth minute, left back Corey Brown began an attacking raid and crossed into the box where Dimi Petratos’ shot was blocked.
Roar striker Mensur Kurtishi raced in for the rebound and was cut down by Wanderers defender Seyi Adeleke, referee Kris Griffith-Jones pointed immediately to the spot.
Henrique slotted his shot high to the right as Wanderers keeper Ante Covic dived the other way and it was the fastest goal (4 minutes 35 seconds) by a visiting team to Pirtek Stadium.
Despite rainy conditions and a slippery pitch after an earlier thunderstorm, the Roar revived the entertaining and tight possession game that has earned them three Grand Final victories in the last four years.
With a midfield marshalled superbly by Socceroo Matt McKay and anchored by the tireless Luke Brattan, the Roar continually pushed forward and pressed Western Sydney as Henrique repeatedly found gaps in the disjointed Wanderers defence.
Henrique could have added a second goal in the 42nd minute when his far post header from a pinpoint Brattan cross was tipped away by Covic.
Western Sydney pushed harder in the second half but the Roar defence was resolute with captain Matt Smith and fellow central defender Jade North outstanding as they held the line and smothered repeated Wanderers raids.
Roar striker Jean Carlos Solorzano, who had come on as a half-time substitute for Mensur Kurtishi, came within a whisker of adding a second goal in the 87th minute when his shot ricocheted off the bottom of the left-hand upright.
The Roar survived a late scare when Wanderers forward Nikita Rukavytsya weaved through the tight Brisbane defence but blasted his shot from close range off the top of the cross-bar.
Brisbane Roar will now be looking to consolidate their place in the Hyundai A-League top six when they play away to Melbourne City on Sunday.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (HENRIQUE 5’ pen)
Hyundai A-League Round 4 (rescheduled) 2014/15 season
Wednesday, 3 December, at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Shannon COLE (5.Brendan HAMILL 67’), 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.Vitor SABA (12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA 59'), 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 22.Seyi ADELEKE, 35.Kearyn BACCUS (18.Lacopo LA ROCCA 71’).
Substitutes not used: 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk).
Yellow cards: Seyi ADELEKE 34’, Shannon COLE 49’, Mateo POLJAK 86’.
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar FC: 2.Matthew SMITH (c), 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Mensur KURTISHI (12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 46’), 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 17.Matt McKAY, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO (20.Kofi DANNING 64’).
Substitutes not used: 8.Steven LUSTICA, 15.James DONACHIE, 30.Matthew ACTON (gk).
Yellow cards: Matthew SMITH 36’, Luke BRATTAN 52’, Corey BROWN 58’, Brandon BORRELLO 64’.
Red cards: Nil