Son Heung-min struck a last-gasp winner as Tottenham clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory at Aston Villa to boost their Champions League hopes.
The South Korea forward cashed in on Bjorn Engels’ stoppage-time error to snatch the three points for Jose Mourinho’s side after Engels’ 53rd-minute header had looked like earning Villa a priceless point in their fight against relegation.
Son’s first goal, following up after Pepe Reina saved his penalty, had given Spurs the lead at the break after Toby Alderweireld’s equaliser cancelled out his early own goal.
Fifth place in the Premier League is now likely to offer a Champions League spot following Manchester City’s two-year European ban, although it is yet to officially be confirmed and City are appealing.
It all started so well for Dean Smith’s side, who were gifted the lead after just nine minutes.
Anwar El Ghazi’s deflected cross completely flummoxed Alderweireld and, under little pressure from Mbwana Samatta, the Belgium defender stabbed into his own net from five yards.
The visitors appeared unnerved and Villa looked for an instant second, swarming all over Tottenham with Jack Grealish curling wide from the edge of the box.
Yet they desperately needed to regain their composure as they struggled to handle a marauding Grealish, who continued to create clear openings for Villa.
The midfielder was on top form and, after 18 minutes, he breezed past Alderweireld to cut back for Douglas Luiz only for his goal-bound shot to hit a covering Ben Davies and fly over.
Villa were the dominant force and Spurs had struggled to create yet levelled out of the blue after 27 minutes when Alderweireld made amends.
The hosts failed to clear Son’s corner and switched off when the ball dropped to Alderweireld who swivelled to fire a neat finish high past Reina on the half-volley.
The game opened up and Hugo Lloris kept out El Ghazi’s drive from distance before Alli’s shot was blocked and Steven Bergwijn’s follow-up hit Engels.
Spurs had fought their way back after a nightmare start but completed their first-half recovery in injury time.
Bergwijn raced down the right only for his run to be halted by the sliding Engels.
Referee Martin Atkinson initially refused to give a penalty but a VAR review correctly awarded the spot-kick and, while Reina went to his right to save Son’s penalty, the forward prodded in the rebound.
It was a warning which Spurs ignored, though, and Villa levelled after 53 minutes as Engels earned his own redemption when he rose above Alderweireld to head in Grealish’s corner.
Yet the hosts failed to build on the equaliser and needed Reina to be at his best until he was beaten at the death.
Marvelous Nakamba blocked Bergwijn’s effort 10 minutes later and Alli should have done better than to shoot tamely at Reina when Ezri Konsa’s mistake allow him through.
The former Liverpool goalkeeper also twice denied Son with five minutes left, expertly turning his angled drive wide and, from the resulting corner, making a low stop.
But Son stole the points in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Engels missed a routine clearance and the striker ran through to roll under Reina.