Sport Football The fish that roared: Brisbane tops the A-League
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The fish that roared: Brisbane tops the A-League

Brisbane Roar star Henrique celebrates after scoring
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Teammates call him the “Slippery Fish”.

But Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi may have a more derogatory term for Henrique after the diminutive Brazilian sparked Brisbane Roar’s 3-0 A-League romp at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

The pint-sized Henrique’s stunning brace – backed by captain Matt Smith’s 77th minute volley – ensured an injury-hit Roar moved back to the top of the ladder with their third win in four games.

But it was more Heart-ache for the visitors, who extended their horror win-less run away from home to 16 games.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey admitted the injury-plagued Henrique had become an enigma of late, so much so that he could not grasp the playmaker’s unique – but clearly not unforgettable – nickname.

“What do they call him, the Slippery Eel?” Mulvey laughed.

“He is a bit of an enigma because he has been injured for a good deal of the last few years and missed too much football.

“But we are slowly getting him ready.”

Henrique was also in Aloisi’s sights post-match but for very different reasons.

Aloisi would have been forgiven for cursing the Brazilian’s name after he scored in the 48th and 65th minute – the former with a touch of controversy.

Aloisi believed Henrique was off-side when he latched onto a Luke Brattan pass before drilling it past Heart keeper Andrew Redmayne to open the scoring.

“I thought it was offside. I haven’t seen the replay. You might be able to tell me (but) after that Henrique scored,” Aloisi said.

Brisbane were on the back foot from the outset without Shane Stefanutto (hamstring), star striker Besart Berisha (hamstring), Irish import Liam Miller (calf), George Lambadaridis (knee) and Kofi Danning (knee).

German playmaker Thomas Broich (ankle) also threw a scare in the warm-up but took his place in the Roar starting line-up.

However, not much could prepare Brisbane for the first half onslaught unleashed by the Heart.

They did not look like a side that had not savoured an away victory since New Year’s Eve 2011 as they came out swinging against a shellshocked Roar.

Someone had to stand up – and the 165cm Henrique became the unlikely hero.

Henrique completed his double in the 65th minute when he pounced on a ricochet after Redmayne deflected Dimitri Petratos’s full-blooded effort.

Smith brought the 15,011-strong crowd to full voice when he latched onto a clever Matt McKay cross in the 77th minute.

“It was important that goal (Henrique’s first) was scored when it did. You could see the belief coursing through their veins after that – our senior players really stepped up,” Mulvey said.

The Heart sorely missed Harry Kewell (whiplash) as they squandered chance after chance, most notably Iain Ramsay’s sixth minute attempt from a pinpoint Andrea Migliorini cross.

Meanwhile, Brisbane will this week monitor the fitness of key defender Jade North (groin) after he was hooked in the final 10 minutes as a precaution.