Henrique’s double came in a 15-minute span in last night’s first half as Adelaide banked a breakthrough first win of the season.
Wellington are now at the foot of the ladder after being jumped by Adelaide, who held a 2-0 lead from 40 minutes into their home match.
Henrique’s brilliant brace highlighted the Coopers Stadium clash.
First, he opened scoring with a thundering left-footer in the 26th minute after being played into space, and range, by the industrious James Holland.
The Brazilian then topped that feat within a quarter-hour, pounding a 20m blast into the net – after being set up via Isaias from an Adelaide corner, Henrique’s launch sailed at terrific pace barely head-high before smacking into the net.
Adelaide’s tide, and perhaps season, had earlier turned on their captain and goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, whose diving save of a Roy Krishna penalty in the 20th minute inspired the locals.
Galekovic was busy but assured through the first half, making five saves when the Phoenix attacked on the break but Adelaide had their measure.
The trend continued in the second stanza: despite the best efforts of Phoenix playmaker Kosta Barbarouses, Adelaide’s defence remained resolute.
Barbarouses fed substitute Hamish Watson for a tap-in, only to be adjudged offside in arguably the brightest moment in a lacklustre half from the New Zealanders.
The Reds, with Spanish striker Sergi Guardiola threatening and Marcelo Carrusca influential in midfield, controlled the tempo en route to a victory achieved without suspensed coach Guillermo Amor, who watched from the stands for a second game in a row after being banned for making contact with a fourth official.
Adelaide’s caretaker coach Pau Marti described the win as satisfying.
“It was a deserved win,” he said.
“It’s a good moment for the players, for the team, for the club because we did enough to get this three points so lets enjoy it.”
Wellington coach Ernie Merrick again lamented a lack of polish in his charges.
“I thought we started off well, we were pretty solid at the back, our midfield was gaining control,” Merrick said.
“And when we missed the penalty, I think that lifted the Adelaide boys and some of our boys dropped their head a little bit.”
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