Roar down reds to get back on track
Brisbane Roar have given coach Mike Mulvey the perfect Christmas gift by recording their first Hyundai A-League win under the Englishman with a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday night.
In what was expected to be a Boxing Day blockbuster, the clash was played out with little gusto and intensity with neither side able to carve out chances in the attacking third, although Brisbane dominated possession as usual.
It took until just past the hour mark for the Roar to eventually find the net and break the deadlock when Henrique capped off a clever passage of play with midfield duo Mitch Nichols and Thomas Broich.
While the goal-scoring opportunities were few and far between, the yellow cards were not with referee Adam Kersey brandishing a total of seven.
The win breaks Mulvey's duck since taking charge of the Roar two weeks ago and temporarily lifts his side into seventh spot on the table.
Adelaide remain in second after suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time this season following last week's crushing 6-1 loss to Western Sydney.
Both sides were sloppy and often caught in possession as neither could get going in the opening minutes.
The Roar were caught on the counter after their attacks continued to break down, but Adelaide could not press forward and take advantage.
The first genuine threat on goal for either side eventually came in the eighth minute via Roar hitman Besart Berisha.
Ivan Franjic had time on the right flank to whip in a dangerous cross to Berisha who shook his marker to drill a bullet header that produced an acrobatic save from United skipper Eugene Galekovc.
Adelaide were unable to piece anything together in attack and their frustration was compounded on 18 minutes when Jeronimo Neumann was booked for simulation.
The decision was met with a chorus of boos when a replay suggested the Argentine, who has been accused of diving in the past, was fouled.
In familiar Brisbane Roar style, the visitors dictated play and controlled the tempo but could not make their dominance count, although they went close on 39 minutes.
With a neat first touch, Franjic controlled a sky-high ball before working a neat one-two with Ben Halloran into Adelaide's area.
Franjic returned a pass to Halloran but the former Gold Coast winger struck straight at Galekovic.
With half-time approaching Reds defenders Iain Fyfe and Daniel Bowles joined Jeronimo, Brisbane captain Matt Smith and Roar forward Henrique in the book as the lifeless clash found a pulse.
The match hadn't even restarted following the break when Roar gloveman Michael Theo was also shown a yellow card.
Impressive Adelaide striker Bruce Djite carved out the first opportunity of the second half in the 57th minute.
The 25-year-old used his body and strength to fend off Smith and give himself room to fire off a powerful shot that whisked narrowly wide.
But it was Brisbane who finally took advantage on 65 minutes through Henrique.
Broich and Nichols pushed forward and exchanged passes before the latter sliced his way past the would-be tackles of Fyfe and Bowles as he continued to glide into the hosts' box.
Nichols reached the by-line and cut the ball back to Henrique who prodded home for the winner.
Bet365 Man of the Match: Mitch Nichols
He may have been up and down this season, but on this night Nichols showed his best. He bossed the midfield and his deception led to Henrique's match-winner. Great performance.
Adelaide United 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (Henrique 65)
Crowd: 11,035 @Hindmarsh Stadium