Substitute Aleksandar Vujacic rescued a point for Balzan as they held champions Hibernians in a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Hibernians seemed heading towards victory as Jorge da Silva Pereira put them ahead early in the second half but Balzan had other thoughts and restored equilibrium deep into stoppage time.
Nigerian forward Godwin Mensha, Montenegrin attacker Aleksandar Vujacic and Malta international striker Alfred Effiong were making their debut for Balzan. Branko Nisevic, on the other hand, named the same team which won the BOV Super Cup last week.
Andrew Cohen went close on the 12th minute with a conclusion ending just wide following a slight deflection.
Eight minutes in the second half, Alfred Effiong intelligently served Lydon Micallef whose shot from the right hit the foot of the post.
Hibernians finally managed to break the deadlock on the 57th. Andrew Cohen provided the pass from midfield for Gilmar who left the ball for Jorge Pereira da Silva with the latter rounding Samir Arab before placing the ball in the bottom left corner.
However five minutes in added time, Balzan equalised thanks to Aleksandar Vujacic whose header was blocked by a defender but his low shot beat Jurgen Borg following a Terence Agius freekick
BALZAN Valerio Senatore, Steve Bezzina, Clive Brincat, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Lydon Micallef (68′ Aleksandar Vujacic), Samir Arab (68′ Terence Agius), Godwin Mensha, Alfred Effiong, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Dylan Grima (84′ Ryan Darmanin), Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Sean Cipriott, Maxim Focsa, Luke Sciberras.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
HIBS Jurgen Borg, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen (86′ Johann Bezzina), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Andrei Agius, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro (90′ Jurgen Degabriele), Jorge da Silva Pereira (78′ Jorge Santos Silva).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Jonathan Pearson, Dunstan Vella, Joseph Mbong.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Christopher Francalanza
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Jorginho, Brincat, Grioli, Zarate, Grima, Cohen
Scorers: 57′ Jorge da Silva Pereira, 90+5′ Aleksandar Vujacic
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen