A goal three minutes in added time by Milan Djuric handed Balzan a narrow win over Sliema Wanderers in the opening match from the BOV Premier League at the Tony Bezzina Stadium on Thursday.
It was a balanced encounter with both sides creating their fair share of scoring opportunities, especially during the first half, but Balzan left it till late to notch the winner.
Both sides had a number of players making their debut, namely Milos Mijic, Bojan Kaljevic and substitutes Milos Zlatkovic and Alex da Paixao Alves for Balzan; Warsama Hassan, Juan Pablo Morales, Yuki Uchida, Raphael Kooh Sohna u s-sostituti Joao Miguel Lima and Matheus Freitas for Sliema.
Milan Djuric was unlucky to hit the upright with a freekick on the 15th minute and Bojan Kaljevic had a close-range shot ending just wide. Sliema hit back with a Yuki Uchida effort ending just over the bar on the 37th and just before the end of the first half, a Kurt Shaw freekick was parried by Vukasin Vranes.
Three minutes in added time, Balzan notched the winner thanks to Milan Djuric whose fine shot from the right hit the posts before ending at the back of the net.
Balzan vs Sliema W. match details
BALZAN Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab (68′ Gary Camilleri), Marcus Grima, Milan Djuric, Paul Fenech, Michael Johnson (56′ Milos Zlatkovic), Uros Ljubomirac, Milos Mijic (55′ Alex da Paixao Alves), Bojan Kaljevic (68′ Aleksa Andrejic), Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Mark Miller
SLIEMA Timothy Aquilina, Houssein Warsama Hassan (72′ Joao Miguel Fernandes de Lima), Juan Pablo Morales, Kurt Shaw, Yuki Uchida (83′ Matheus Freitas Carvalho da Silva), Edmond Agius, Jake Engerer (58′ Omar Elouni), Gabriel Aquilina, Myles Beerman, Raphael Kooh Sohna, Dejan Vukovic.
Coach: Andrea Pisanu
Referee: Daniel Portelli
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace
Yellow Cards: D. Vukovic, W. Hassan (S); M. Johnson, B. Kaljevic, M. Djuric, M. Zlatkovic (B)
BOV Player of the Match: Gabriel Aquilina