Perth stays top as Brisbane ends winless start in A-League

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SYDNEY — Brazilian striker Henrique came off the bench to score a hat trick which gave Brisbane a 4-0 win over Newcastle, ending the defending champion's winless start in the A-League.

Henrique took the field as a first-half substitute for the injured Jean Carlos Solorzano and scored in the 49th, 72nd and 89th minutes as Brisbane hauled itself out of an early season trough with its first win in six rounds.

Steven Lutica also scored in the 66th, helping Brisbane end a run of losses to Adelaide (2-1), Perth (3-2), Sydney FC (2-0) and Melbourne City (3-1).

Perth moved atop the table with a 2-1 win over Asian Champions League winner Western Sydney, going a point ahead of Adelaide, which beat Wellington 2-1.

The Melbourne Victory held third place after a 0-0 draw with fourth-place Sydney FC, while Wellington and Melbourne City fill out the top six.

Brisbane's win over Newcastle lifted it into seventh place, and eased pressure on coach Mike Mulvey.

Mulvey said the form Brisbane produced in the opening match of the sixth round on Friday had been "bubbling underneath the surface all season."

"In three of (our four) games we could and should have got points," Mulvey said. "So while we weren't satisfied that we hadn't, I knew there was a performance bubbling underneath the surface.

"Sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes things didn't come off for us, but we clicked back into gear, and it was good to see.

"Given we'd shown some frailties defensively, we really worked hard at that during the week, and that was one of the most pleasing aspects, was the fact that we kept a clean sheet."

Perth posted its fifth win of the season to leapfrog Adelaide into first place. Dino Djulbic opened the scoring for Perth in the ninth minute and Scott Jamieson sealed the win with a brilliant free kick 12 minutes from fulltime.

Sergio Cirio scored four minutes into injury time to clinch Adelaide's 2-1 win over Wellington after bungling a scoring chance minutes earlier. Wellington scored first through Roly Bonevicia but Adelaide took the game with goals to Nigel Boogaard and Cirio.

"We deserved to win because from the first minute we went to attack, we wanted to win," Cirio said. "We played many games in the last two weeks, and in the end the team was a little bit tired, but with heart we got the game."

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory remain unbeaten after their 0-0 draw, and Sydney has kept four clean sheets this season, going 426 minutes without conceding a goal.

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