Maribor held out a 1-1 draw with Russian league winners Spartak in a hot contested battle.
A late late goal from Balor in the 85th minute rescued a point for the Maribor after a terrific fight in which either side were annoyed to give up.
Maribor are one of the silent killers of the tournament and greatly proved the fact against Hapoel Beer Sheva in the qualifying round. Now that they are in the group stage with heavyweights including Sevilla and Liverpool, Maribor were in full throttle to get total points from the opening fixture. On the other hand, Spartak clinched their domestic title after 8 long years and were no nobish to the challenges they were to face on the grandest stage. The clash meant a lot for both of them.
— FC Spartak Moscow (@fcsm_official) 13 September 2017
Maribor and Spartak are both hunting for a third place for the continuation of European football. Keeping all that mind, the game unleashed a monstrous passion cloud over the stadium .
Both sides tried hard but failed to open up their account in the first half. The away side were clinically the better of the two side but that failed to convert their chances into goals, having got the freedom to do so. That led frustrations prevailed in the crowd. And they held refree Deniz Aytikin for their misery. They threw a burning firecracker towards the pitch which landed a length from the referee’s feet. Uefa had opened up an investigation for this horrid case.
The fans however cooled down after their team’s hard work paid off with Spartak taking the lead in the second half on the half hour mark through Samedov. He produced a stunning volley through the middle to give his side the deserved lead.
Maribor wanted revenge of the audacity their guest showed poorly in the stadium. In the 85th minute their long gasp wait for an European goal was over after their five year absence from the competition through Balor’s brilliantly executed goal. The chance was there for the hero of the match to seal victory but his side footed effort in the 87th minute went whistling past the post