Henrique scored a hat-trick and set up another as Brisbane Roar recorded their first win of the 2014-15 A-League season with a 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.
A first half substitute for the injured Jean Carlos Solorzano, Henrique opened the scoring just after the break before adding another two late on and also set up the other goal for Steven Lustica.
The emphatic win should ease some pressure on the club after four straight defeats to start the season, but they were rarely tested by the home side.
WHAT THEY SAID
Jets skipper Kew Jaliens – "It's very disappointing. Not only playing wise but mentality wise. Letting goals slip like this is not professional."
Roar Midfielder Luke Brattan – "We've started the season off slow but we were playing good at times and showing what we can do, luck just came our way and we finished four off. We"ve been playing well and just not scoring goals, it’s good to knock a few in."
0-1 Henrique (49') - Luke Brattan found Shane Stefanutto in acres of space down the left-wing, the full-back playing in a pin-point centre to the Brazilian who had the simple task of side-footing home from just eight yards out.
0-2 Lustiica (66') – The midfielder picked up possession 30 yards from goal and ran at the defence, playing a beautiful one-two with Henrique before coolly slotting it past Mark Birighitti into the corner of the net.
0-3 Henrique (72') – On the counter-attack, Henrique was free down the left and turned Taylor Regan inside and out before cutting in onto his right foot and curling a powerful effort into the corner which gave Birighitti no chance.
0-4 Henrique (89') –Similar to his second goal, Henrique benefitted from a Jets turnover, receiving the ball from Mensur Kurtishi just outside the box, getting around Regan with a classy step-over before executing another classy finish into the far corner.
Stefanutto had made a number of over-lapping runs in the first half, either not being found by a team-mate or squandering the final pass. But the veteran left-back got things exactly right just after the break, timing his run to perfection and delivering an inch-perfect cross to give the visitors a deserved lead.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
The Roar finally got the better of Newcastle, snapping a three-game losing streak against the Hunter club. It was just their fourth goal against the Jets in their last six games between the two clubs.
Brisbane looked set to double their lead on the hour when awarded a penalty, but Jets ‘keeper Mark Birighitti had other ideas, pulling off a superb save down low to his left to keep out Dimitri Petratos’ spot-kick. Unfortunately for the home side it only delayed the inevitable.
One for both sides on the hour mark with Ben Kantarovski’s ill-timed challenge saw Thomas Broich go sprawling in the box for a needless penalty. But the Roar failed to take advantage, with Petratos producing a weak penalty which allowed Birighitti to easily get down to his left to save.
Solorzano went up for a header midway through the first half, falling awkwardly and heavily on his left shoulder. The attacker bravely tried to play on in pain but was forced off just 10 minutes later.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Wary of the Roar's pace in wide areas, Newcastle’s back four sat very deep for much of the contest. It meant they failed to adequately press the visitors in midfield, giving the likes of Luke Brattan, Steven Lustica and Thomas Broich time on the ball to pick out their passes and start attacks. The decision to play skipper Kew Jaliens at right-back also didn’t work, with the Dutchman caught horribly out of position for the Roar’s opener.
THE FINAL WORD
Newcastle appears to have real problems, never really threatening Brisbane’s goal in a poor 90-minute display. With only two points from their first six rounds, it looks like being a long season for Phil Stubbins' side unless things change quickly. A clash with Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend will be another difficult challenge.
The pressure might finally ease on the Roar and embattled coach Mike Mulvey after their most complete performance of the campaign. While it might be too early to say they are back on track, there is something now to build on ahead of a huge clash with Melbourne Victory next Friday night.
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti, Jaliens, Regan, Madaschi, Gallagher, Caravella (Virgili 56’), Celeski (Welsh 63’), Kantarovski, Griffiths (Jeronimo 67’), Montano, Carney
Brisbane Roar: Young, Bowles, North, Smith, Stefanutto, Lustica, Brattan, Petratos (Kurtishi 82’), Borrello (Brady 81’), Broich, Solorzano (Henrique 36’)
Scorers: Henrique (49', 72', 89'), Lustica (66')
Red cards: N/A
Yellow cards: Regan (16'), Kantarovski (46'), Broich (58), Jaliens (61')
Conditions: 30C, Hot