Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques could not hide his joy and relief as his charges survived a scare from Mbombela United's gutsy display in the Nedbank Cup at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday.
The Birds had to come from behind twice to force the match into extra time and went on to win 4-3.
"We needed this challenge, a test of character like this one," said Swallows coach Marques.
"We played to the limits and there were moments at the end where we should have wrapped it up but again we lost concentration.
"The guys kept fighting and there was a moment I thought it was out of our grip but it was an exciting game all-round.
The Swallows mentor paid tribute to Mbombela's gallant fight and the way they pushed his charges.
"This is what the Nedbank Cup is all about and credit to the opposition," he said.
"Coach Mpumi (Mpumelelo Gamedze) has done a great job. His guys had character, they ran at us and showed us no respect at all," said Marques.
Gamedze hailed Swallows for their comeback and also congratulated his counterpart.
"We watched them play SuperSport United and we knew they are dangerous from set-pieces," Gamedze said.
"We knew they would catch us from there and they did because we don't have the height that they have."
However, Gamedze said the match would help his side going forward as they push for a place in the National First Division.
"All in all it was an experience for my boys and I think this experience will help my boys as we try to gain promotion into Mvela league," he said.
Mbombela are currently campaigning in the country's third-tier league.