A late equaliser from Akhona Magqabeni saw Tornado snatch a thrilling 2-2 draw against Mangaung United during their opening ABC Motsepe League promotional playoff encounter on Tuesday.
Maqgqabeni put in an all-star effort to bag both goals for his side and give them a lifeline in the hunt for promotion to National First Division (NFD).
A loss to Mangaung who are the playoff favorites along with Tornado could have proved very costly.
It was Tornado who took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break after an early penalty was converted by 22-year-old Mdantsane-born Magqabeni, after just eight minutes.
United had to search for an equaliser and they did by stepping on the gas as the Free State representatives came out all guns blazing in the second half – scoring two goals to take the lead.
But it was Magqabeni who had the final say, scoring in the dying minutes of the game to make sure his side would come away with a point.
Tornado head coach Tshepo Motsoeneng said he was satisfied with the one point in the tightly contested competition.
The former Free State Stars goalkeeper lauded the football maestro that has been with the Mdantsane-based third-tier league champs for two seasons.
“He did wonders on the day. I’ve been saying that this boy is gold because he was able to score two goals, as the young boy he is. Everyone should look out for this boy because he really came through for the team,” said Motsoeneng.
He noted playing a tough opponent like United in their first encounter meant they had to bring their A-game and the result was a good start to their playoff campaign that could see them playing at National First Division level.
“We were ready to face Mangaung, but they fought very hard and well.
“They were coming to us and that caused us to make a lot of mistakes. If you looked in the middle of the park we were not structured, we were all over the place, but it’s fine we’ll bounce back.
“Now we go back to the drawing board. A point is better nothing and we can always build from it,” said Motsoeneng.
Tornado were preparing to take on Hungry Lions in their second game in the tournament yesterday and Motsoeneng said they were still in the running for the title.
In a disappointing draw, United went on to once again share spoils with Hungry Lions in the second leg of the playoffs, playing 1-1.