Francisco Farias’s stoppage-time penalty salvaged a draw for Santa Lucia against Marsaxlokk.
The Brazilian midfielder maintained his composure to score a vital equaliser that handed his team their first point of the season.
Santa Lucia took the lead early in the match through Davidy Valpoort
But the Southseasiders fought back superbly through an own goal by Yoel Soares Fonesca and Serrano before the late drama.
After 12 minutes, Marsaxlokk’s Dejan Vukovic had to go off for treatment for a head wound after a collision with his goalkeeper Marko Drobnjak and returned with a heavy bandage.
With Vukovic still nursing the injury on the sidelines, Marsaxlokk had little time to settle in defence as they gave away possession cheaply in the box and Valpoort took full advantage to stroke the ball home from close range.
But the Southseasiders had already looked dangerous and it was no surprise when they drew level 13 minutes later.
Daniel Agius whipped in an enticing cross from the right and Santa Lucia defender Yoel Soares Fonesca reacted quickly but in a bid to beat Adan Fonseca to the ball, he deflected it into his own net.
And Marsaxlokk were deservedly ahead in the 39th minute when Omar Walter Serrano rose at the near post to guide Leandro Aguirre’s corner beyond Matthew Calleja Cremona.
Pablo Doffo’s troops were well in command and Agius looked poised to add a third just before the interval but his low drive hit the post before Calleja Cremona dived bravely at the foot of Kristian Keqi to keep out the rebound.
Santa Lucia, as they had to do, started the second half in better fashion and Drobnjak made a splendid double save on the hour mark to preserve Marsaxlokk’s lead, diving to save a header by Diego Francarolli and then recovering superbly to block Valpoort from only a few metres out.
Marsaxlokk remained vulnerable though and suffered a fatal wound a minute from time when a minute from time, Farias ran inside the box and collided with Serrano.
The collision was enough to convince Matthew Degabriele to point to the spot, and the Brazilian midfielder picked himself up to secure the first point for Santa Lucia.
Soares 27og, Serrano 39
SANTA LUCIA 2
Valpoort 14; Farias 89 pen.
M. Drobnjak-6, A. Attard-5 (85 R. Tonna), K. Keqi-6.5, W. Serrano-6, P. Xuereb-6, A. Ferraris-6 (73 F. Moracci), J. Aquilar-5.5, L. Aguirre-7, D. Vukovic-5.5 (64C. Uzeh), D. Agius-6 (73 D. Mifsud), T. Fonesca-6 (85 Wellington).
M. Calleja Cremona-6, Y. Soares-5, M. Johnson-6 (70 J. Zerafa), R. Bairam-6 (63 A. Morenio), D. Valpoort-7, A. Bah-5, D. Francarolli-7, D. Xuereb-7, J. Pisani-6, E. Camilleri-5, F. Farias-6.5.
Referee: Matthew Degabriele
Yellow cards: Bah, Keqi, Aguilar, Pisani, Agius, Zerafa, Aguirre.
BOV player of the match: Leandro Aguirre (Marsaxlokk).