Southampton pulled off a stunning, late comeback at Tottenham as Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams struck in the space of three minutes to seal a 3-2 win in a breathless encounter.
The visitors appeared to be heading for defeat after Heung-Min Son slid home Lucas Moura’s cross (70) in controversial circumstances, with Saints striker Armando Broja down injured following a robust aerial challenge by Emerson Royal.
Broja required several minutes of treatment, during which time tempers frayed on the touchline, where an angry Antonio Conte needed to be pulled back by his assistants, but Saints fought back when play resumed as Elyounoussi (79) and Adams (82) headed in from James Ward-Prowse crosses to silence the home crowd.
Earlier, a Jan Bednarek own goal (18) had put Spurs in front but Southampton went on to dominate the rest of the first half and were unfortunate not to go into the break in front after Broja equalised with a low strike from a Romain Perraud cross (23).
Spurs improved in the second period, however, and there was still time for more drama in stoppage time, when substitute Steven Bergwijn appeared to have levelled for the hosts, only for the goal to be belatedly disallowed for offside by VAR.
The result lifts Southampton into the top half of the Premier League table and damages Tottenham’s top-four prospects. Even a draw would have been enough to take Conte’s side above sixth-placed Arsenal but instead, they are left with ground to make up.
It was a frenetic encounter right from the start.
Tottenham’s opener, when Bednarek turned a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg cross into his own net, came just moments after Sergio Reguilon had spurned a glorious chance from a Harry Kane pass but it was all Saints apart from that brief spell of Spurs pressure.
The visitors’ intent was evident from as early as the fourth minute, when Adams wasted a clear opportunity from the first of many crosses from the left, where Emerson Royal was overrun by the twin threat of Perraud and Elyounoussi.
Falling behind only heightened the visitors’ determination, with Broja forcing a close-range save from Lloris barely a minute afterwards and Ward-Prowse and Stuart Armstrong going close from distance before the equaliser arrived.
It was a calamitous goal from Tottenham’s perspective, as Ben Davies lost his footing and Davison Sanchez failed to clear his lines, allowing Broja to eventually finish, but it was no less than Southampton deserved and they continued to carve Spurs open.
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Sanchez (5), Romero (5), Davies (6), Emerson (5), Hojbjerg (6), Winks (6), Reguilon (7), Lucas (7), Kane (6), Son (7)
Subs: Bentancur (7), Kulusevski (6), Bergwijn (6)
Southampton: Forster (7), Walker-Peters (7), Salisu (7), Bednarek (6), Perraud (8), S Armstrong (7), Romeu (7), Ward-Prowse (8), Elyounoussi (8), Adams (8), Broja (8)
Subs: Diallo (6), Walcott (6), Long (6)
Man of the match: Mohamed Elyounoussi
Broja dragged wide after more static Spurs defending allowed him a free run at goal from a hopeful ball over the top from Kyle Walker-Peters, while Armstrong saw a header saved by Lloris and then fired another long-range effort narrowly wide.
Mohammed Salisu saw a header bounce wide via a deflection and Perraud struck a fierce shot against the crossbar but Spurs managed to reach the interval with the scores level despite facing 15 shots and only attempting two themselves.
Spurs rallied after the break, with most of their best moments coming through Reguilon, who created a string of chances, and Rodrigo Bentancur also impressing off the bench before Son’s controversial strike put them in command.
Conte tried to gee up the crowd as Southampton’s players protested while Broja received treatment from the club’s physios in the wake of the goal, but the atmosphere changed dramatically soon after play resumed as Saints, again refusing to lie down, suddenly turned the game on its head with Adams and Elyounoussi sending the travelling fans into rapturs.
Spurs pushed for a leveller in the closing stages and thought they had it when Bergwijn, the hero of their dramatic 3-2 win over Leicester last month, turned home Cristian Romero’s knockdown, but just as the players were waiting for the game to be resumed, VAR intervened to rule it out for offside as an extraordinary encounter took one final twist.
Conte: We are too emotional
Spurs head coach Antonio Conte rued his side’s “important mistakes” and said they remain “too emotional” when it comes to managing games.
“For sure, we have to be disappointed,” he said. “They were good but I think we made many, many mistakes, especially with the ball, and I think this type of situation creates a bit of mental instability in my team.
“In the second half, then, we started to play, we started to press in the right way and then we created chances to score.
“We also did that in the first half because every time we play the ball in the right way, we created a situation to go and score, but I repeat, we made many mistakes in the first half – important mistakes.
“For sure, I think we are now improving in many aspects but we are still too emotional.
“Against Leicester, we won 3-2 and we were losing 2-1. Today, we were winning 2-1 and we lost 3-2.
“I think on this aspect, we have to improve because if we want to grow as a team and try to be competitive, the first thing we have to improve is to be stable, not up and down, up and down.”
Hasenhuttl: By far our best performance
An ecstatic Ralph Hasenhuttl described Southampton’s performance as their best under his management.
“Unbelievable game,” he told BT Sport. “I’m here now since three years – I think this was by far the best performance we have shown.
“The first half was unbelievable. We would score normally three or four goals. It’s a pity we only scored once.
“You see in some moments their quality – this is hard to defend always – but every player today did exactly what we needed to do. The gameplan from every player was brought 100 per cent onto the pitch.
“Before the second goal we scored, we played 23 passes. This is fantastic and really I am very proud.”