Henrique special earns crucial win
We have moved a step closer to a finals berth with a crucial 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A 13th-minute strike from fan-favourite Henrique, his first in Brisbane orange in almost two years, proved to be enough for the hosts to pile the pressure on fellow finals contenders and climb into the top six.
Head Coach John Aloisi said tonight was simply about getting the three points and continuing the charge towards finals football.
"We knew that it was going to be a tough game. They only had one real chance in the first half, and in the second we showed them just what we could do and controlled it," Aloisi said.
"We should have won the game more comfortably, but all in all, we're really happy because we needed those three points.
"It was great to see Henrique score. He played well and kept causing them problems, as did Eric [Bautheac], Fahid [Ben Khalfallah] and Massimo [Maccarone]."
For the first time since April 2016, the Slippery Fish sent the Suncorp Stadium crowd into raptures, curling a shot into the bottom left corner, well out of the reach a lunging Ben Kennedy to give the Roar an early advantage.
Despite Brisbane carving the better of the opportunities through the opening period, the Mariners came within inches of an equaliser late in the half as Andrew Hoole thundered a strike against the crossbar.
The Roar were then controversially denied an opportunity to double their lead moments later as appeals for handball against Mariners defender Kye Rowles were waved away.
Italian marquee Massimo Maccarone was denied a 10th goal of the Hyundai A-League just six minutes after the re-start after a foul was deemed to have been committed moments before the striker found the top corner.
Corey Gameiro was brought into the fray in place of the goal scorer midway through the second half, immediately getting involved as the Roar continued to create chances with both Jack Hingert and Eric Bautheac calling Kennedy into action in quick succession.
The Mariners pushed hard for a crucial late goal, forcing the Roar to defend their one-goal valiantly. The lead proved to be enough as Brisbane picked up an invaluable three points with just two rounds of the regular season to play.
Frenchman Eric Bautheac was named as Man of the Match and says the attention now turns to finishing the season strongly and extending the campaign into the Finals Series.
"This win is very important because we only have a few matches left. Now, we have two games that are like finals for us, and to get the win was important for us and our confidence," Bautheac said.
The Roar are on the road for the final two rounds of the Hyundai A-League, firstly against Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, 7 April (5:35pm) before travelling west to Perth in the last round.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Brisbane took the lead 13 minutes into the contest as fan favourite Henrique netted his first BRFC goal in almost two years.
- The Mariners came closest to a first-half equaliser through an Andrew Hoole strike that cannoned off the bar and back into play via the goal-line.
- The Roar had a goal disallowed early in the second-half and continued to dominate chances with Jamie Young rarely called into action after the break.
- Despite a late push from the visitors, the Roar held on to their one-goal lead to record a crucial ninth win of the season.
Brisbane Roar – Henrique 13’; 1-0
Eric Bautheac races onto a Jack Hingert through-ball and storms down the wing, cutting back inside to pass to an unmarked Henrique, who makes no mistake as he fires home into the bottom corner.
Hyundai A-League Round 25: Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, 31 March
Brisbane Roar 1 (Henrique 13')
Central Coast Mariners 0