Manchester City’s failed pursuit of Harry Kane came back to haunt them as the England captain scored twice to secure Tottenham a stunning 3-2 win at the Etihad which blew the Premier League title race back open.
Kane’s header deep into stoppage time seconds after the hosts had levelled through Riyad Mahrez’s penalty inflicted City’s first league defeat in 16 games.
Liverpool can now close to within three points of the leaders should they win their game in hand at home to Leeds on Wednesday.
The contrast in form between the sides could not have been starker as Tottenham had lost their previous three league games.
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But Antonio Conte avoided losing four on the bounce for the first time in his managerial career thanks to a dogged defensive display enlightened by flashes of brilliance by Kane and Son Heung-min on the break.
Had Kane had his way last summer, he would have been lining up in blue rather than Tottenham white.
He was City’s prime target to replace club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, but it was Kane’s playmaking ability that caught the eye in the first half.
Conte claimed Tottenham had been weakened in the January transfer window in his latest withering take on the ability of his squad to Italian media this week.
Both of Spurs’ January signings Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski started and it was the Swede who gave the visitors a dream start.
Kane’s sumptuous through ball broke City’s offside trap and Son unselfishly squared for Kulusevski to slot into an unguarded net after just four minutes.
City boss Pep Guardiola was also critical of his side’s performance despite what he described as “a dream” 5-0 win away to Sporting Lisbon in the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek.
This time some sloppiness from the English champions was punished as they took 20 minutes to awaken from their slumber.
Joao Cancelo saw two efforts fly just wide either side of an Ilkay Gundogan strike that came back off the post as Spurs were penned back inside their final third.
The pressure finally told thanks to the latest error from Spurs captain Hugo Lloris in recent weeks on his 400th appearance for the club.
Lloris spilled Raheem Sterling’s cross under pressure from Kevin De Bruyne and Gundogan swept home the rebound.
For all City’s possession, Kane and Son were always a menace on the counter-attack and they combined to brilliant effect to put Tottenham back in front just before the hour mark.
Kane started the move inside his own half before racing forward to meet the South Korean’s cross with a cool finish for just his sixth league goal of the season.
Only a fine save from Ederson denied Kane a second moments later as again a Son pass split the City defence wide open.
Kane did have the ball in the net for a second time on 74 minutes when he swept home from Kulusevski’s cross with the aid of a deflection.
But in a role reversal of the dramatic scenes when City were denied a stoppage time winner in a Champions League quarter-final between the sides three years ago, this time VAR intervened to City’s benefit for offside against Kulusevski.
At the other end Lloris made amends for his earlier error with an incredible finger tip stop to turn Gundogan’s goal bound effort behind.
City thought they had at least snatched a point when another VAR check saw a penalty awarded for handball by Cristian Romero and Mahrez fired high past Lloris.
But there was one final twist in the tale as Kulusevski’s teasing cross was met with a towering header by Kane for a 95th minute winner that gives Spurs’ ambitions of qualifying for next season’s Champions League new life.
Conte’s men move up to seventh and close to within four points of fourth-placed Manchester United with two games in hand to come.