Henrique scored within a minute of Filip Holosko’s 88th minute equaliser to steal a dramatic 3-2 win for Brisbane Roar over Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Sydney looked to have revived their top six hopes with Holosko’s second of the match just prior to stoppage time, but substitute Henrique scored from the restart to all but end the Sky Blues’ season and lead Brisbane into top spot.
Holosko earlier fired Sydney into a shock lead midway through the first-half before Dimitri Petratos and Jamie Maclaren combined to turn the match with two quickfire goals.
1-0 Filip Holosko (24’) – Matt Simon held off Corey Brown and returned a tidy one-two into the path of Holosko. The Slovakian’s first touch fortuitously ricocheted off defender Jade North and presented itself perfectly for a firm low finish across Jamie Young.
1-1 Dimitri Petratos (32’) – Sydney FC’s claims for handball on Brandon Borrello went unheard as the winger wriggled past a couple of defenders and found Dimitri Petratos, who lashed home his fourth goal in six matches.
2-1 Jamie Maclaren (36’) – Fewer than five minutes after equalising, Petratos turned provider with a first-class cross for Jamie Maclaren. Petratos’ instinctive delivery dipped invitingly at the far post where Maclaren applied a simple volleyed finish.
2-2 Filip Holosko (87’) – Jade North won the defensive header from a drifted free-kick but the loose ball sat up for Holosko, who took a smart touch before burying his second in the left corner.
3-2 Henrique (88’) – From the restart, Corona drove forward to pick out the run of substitute Tommy Oar. The returning hero squared for Henrique to all-too-easily tap home from right in front.
Having thrown everything at Brisbane for nearly the entire second 45 minutes, Sydney finally found a deserved equaliser with Holosko’s 87th minute strike.
However, the visitors crucially switched off from the restart to fatal effect as John Aloisi’s side swiftly charged to the other end for a well-worked winner.
That single failure to re-focus has likely cost Sydney their outside shot at the top six.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Though their efforts were ultimately without reward, Sydney’s second-half surge created enough openings for a result.
An incredible 14 shots from inside the box – and 20 in total for the match – illustrated the opportunities which escaped the likes of George Blackwood, Filip Holosko and David Carney.
Dimitri Petratos in career best form – his four goals in six games indicate as much – should be of considerable concern to Brisbane’s five Finals Series opponents.
The midfielder exhibited his full range of abilities in four match-turning first-half minutes, with a sweetly-struck equaliser quickly topped by a stunning cross for Jamie Maclaren.
THE FINAL WORD
Henrique’s late show was vintage Brisbane Roar.
The supersub performed that role to perfection once again, though he should never have had such a straightforward opportunity to snatch a victory which sends Brisbane top with two matches to play.
They next host Newcastle Jets before finishing with a blockbuster trip to Melbourne Victory where they will attempt to claim the title, while Sydney’s vastly contrasting fortunes means their season is all but over despite mathematically remaining in contention for the top six.
Brisbane Roar: Young (gk), Bowles, Donachie, North, Brown, Corona, Petratos, Lustica (Hervas 75’), Borrello (Henrique 56’), Maclaren, Broich (Oar 65’)
Sydney FC: Janjetovic (gk), Ryall (Abbas 16’), Anderson, Jurman, Grant, Tavares (Ninkovic 72’), O’Neill, Holosko, Carney (Hoole 81’), Blackwood, Simon
Scorers: Holosko 24’, Petratos 32’, Maclaren 36’, Holosko 87’, Henrique 88’
Red Cards: Nil
Yellow Cards: Simon 42’, O’Neill 49’, Blackwood 69’
Conditions: 25°C, steady second-half raincomments