In the space of 80 seconds, Steven Bergwijn ensured that nobody who saw this match will ever forget it. With his two goals in stoppage time, the Tottenham substitute turned defeat into victory and perhaps provided the turning point in his side’s season.
Tottenham looked set to regret their missed chances when Leicester’s James Maddison struck in the 76th minute, three minutes before Bergwijn was sent on.
The Dutchman’s double in added time — a close-range strike and a wonderfully composed run and finish — took Spurs above Arsenal into fifth and extended their unbeaten record in the league to nine matches since Antonio Conte took charge.
LEICESTER: Schmeichel 6; Choudhury 6, Soyuncu 5, Vestergaard 5; Albrighton 6, Maddison 6.5, Tielemans 6, Dewsbury-Hall 7 (Soumare 88), Thomas 6.5 (Justin 53, 6); Daka 6 (Barnes 75, 6.5), Lookman 7.
Subs not used: Ward, Jakupovic, Perez, Daley-Campbell, McAteer, Brunt.
Goals: Daka 24, Maddison 76
Manager: Brendan Rodgers 6
TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6.5; Tanganga 6, Sanchez 7, Davies 6; Emerson 5 (Doherty 46, 6), Skipp 7, Winks 6 (Lo Celso 74, 6), Hojbjerg 7, Reguilon 7 (*BERGWIJN 79, 8); Kane 7.5, Moura 7.
Subs not used: Gollini, Gil, Rodon, Sessegnon, Alli, Scarlett.
Goals: Kane 38, Bergwijn 90+4, 90+6
Manager: Antonio Conte 7
Referee: Jonathan Moss 5.5
Seconds earlier, Bergwijn — who Tottenham were thought to be willing to sell this month — had been booked when he could have been sent off for pushing Caglar Soyuncu to the floor after he was denied a penalty.
And when he made the most of his let-off by referee Jon Moss, Conte danced wildly with delight on the touchline as the travelling fans chanted his name long after the final whistle.
Earlier, Patson Daka had put Leicester in front before Harry Kane ensured the scores were level at the interval.
Maddison looked to have netted the winner and Spurs were running out of ideas when Leicester imploded at the back.
‘We were so naive,’ complained manager Brendan Rodgers. ‘When time is virtually up, you settle for a point.’
Spurs had been the better side and created excellent chances, yet by the end of normal time somehow had only Kane’s 38th-minute strike to show for it. How that changed in the closing seconds. Kane had hit the bar in the first half and seen a shot cleared off the line, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was denied by a goal-line clearance.
Before this, Conte had won five and drawn three in the league. But Spurs’ displays in the Carabao Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea were worrying and they scrambled past League One club Morecambe in the FA Cup after an almighty scare.
Conte has called for Tottenham to show their hand in the transfer market this month and a group of supporters were in open revolt in the first half, calling for the departure of chairman Daniel Levy.
Leicester were boosted by the return of James Justin as a second-half substitute. The defender has been absent since last February after damaging knee ligaments and made an encouraging return to action.
This was Leicester’s first Premier League game since they beat Liverpool 1-0 on December 28, and Spurs had not played in the competition since New Year’s Day.
Conte was angry that the north London derby had been postponed at Arsenal’s request and despite the absence of injured Son Heung-min, his team were comfortably the better side in the first half.
The original date for this fixture was December 16, only for it to be rescheduled at Leicester’s request. Brendan Rodgers’ men welcomed back four players who missed the FA Cup win over Watford and one of them, Daka, nearly applied the finish to fit-again Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s cross in the fifth minute.
Thereafter, it was Tottenham who created the better chances, with Sergio Reguilon causing particular problems on the left. A low shot from Kane produced an extraordinary clearance off the line from Luke Thomas, who backheeled the ball to safety with Kasper Schmeichel beaten.
Then Kane came closer still in the 18th minute when he headed Harry Winks’ corner against the bar, before Lucas Moura’s low drive drew a sharp stop from Schmeichel.