A goal three minutes into added time by Milan Djuric handed Balzan a narrow win over Sliema Wanderers in the opening match of the BOV Premier League at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.
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.
For this game, Balzan made some changes from their last game of last season. They included the return of Bojan Kaljevic and Alex Da Paixao Alves together with the new signings Milos Mijic and Milos Zlatkovic.
On the other hand, Sliema included their new signings: Raphael Kooh Sohna, Houssein Warsama Hassan, Juan Pablo Morales, Yuki Uchida, Matheus Freitas Carvalho da Silva, Myles Beerman, and Joao Miguel Fernandes de Lima
At the beginning of the game, Sliema seemed to be the better side, passing the ball around neatly, but the feeling was that once Balzan settled, they would pose more of a threat.
This possibility came in the 14th minute when Milan Djuric’s swung in a free-kick which stamped against the upright.
In the 16th minute, Bojan Kaljevic tried his luck but his effort finished just wide past goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina.
Past the half-hour mark, the Sliema players claimed a penalty when Augustine Loof tackled Kooh Sohna in the box but referee Daniel Portelli waved play on.
In the 37th minute, Sliema hit back with a Yuki Uchida effort ending just over the bar.
Before the break, Kurt Shaw hit a free-kick under Balzan’s jumping wall but his effort was too central to trouble goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.
In the 55th minute, Balzan replaced winger Milos Mijic with Alex da Paixao Alves and the new defender Milos Zlatkovic came in for Michael Johnson.
Sliema replied with the replacement of Jake Engerer with Omar Elouni.
In the 67th minute, substitute Elouni went close with a close-range effort that was pushed away by Vukasin Vranes.
In the 68th minute, Balzan made another change where Bojan Kaljevic was replaced with Aleksa Andrejic and Samir Arab with Gary Camilleri.
Balzan increased their tempo in the final minutes and Uros Ljubomirac served in substitute Aleksa Andrejic but goalkeeper Aquilina was quick out of his goal to block the striker’s effort.
When the game seemed to be ending in a goalless draw, in added time MILAN DJURIC, hit an excellent shot home via the post to grab the three points in dramatic fashion.
BALZAN : Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab (Gary Camilleri 68′), Marcus Grima, Milan Djuric, Paul Fenech, Michael Johnson (Milos Zlatkovic 56′ ), Uros Ljubomirac, Milos Mijic (Alex da Paixao Alves 55′), Bojan Kaljevic (Aleksa Andrejic 68′ ), Sean Cipriott.
SLIEMA W : Timothy Aquilina, Houssein Warsama Hassan (Joao Miguel Fernandes de Lima 72′), Juan Pablo Morales, Kurt Shaw, Yuki Uchida (Matheus Freitas Carvalho da Silva 83′), Edmond Agius, Jake Engerer (Omar Elouni 58′), Gabriel Aquilina, Myles Beerman, Raphael Kooh Sohna, Dejan Vukovic.
Referee: Daniel Portelli
BOV Player of the Match: Gabriel Aquilina