Serginho Greene headed in Joãozinho's 84th-minute cross to hand PFC Levski Sofia an opening-night UEFA Europa League victory, but they twice trailed KAA Gent in this Group C tie.
The Dutchman flashed his effort past Bojan Jorgačević after outpacing his marker to deny the group stage debutants a point, with the Bulgarian side having marginally shaded the later stages of a back-and-forth fixture in Sofia.
Levski looked to be in charge midway through the first half, with Daniel Mladenov and Garra Dembélé testing Jorgačević's nerves. However, it was Randall Azofeifa who opened the scoring against the run of play, trying his luck from 35 metres with a low drive that skidded into the net off Georgi Petkov's left-hand post.
The Costa Rican was barely a metre wide with a near identical effort a few minutes later, but Levski's redemption came with another bolt from the blue, Joãozinho sending a dipping shot over Jorgačević as Yasen Petrov's men poured forward.
The tide turned again just after the restart, Marko Šuler turning in Stijn De Smet's shot when a poorly defended corner was fended into his path. However, it was all square again on the hour, with Dembélé wrong-footing Jorgačević to slip a trundling effort past him from a tight angle after racing through on the right.
Jorgačević looked to have salvaged a point for Gent as he denied Dembélé ten minutes from the end, but Greene – a summer signing from Vitesse – had the final word.