Tottenham moved back to within four points of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League as they earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over a Crystal Palace side that had seen off a number of their top-six rivals.
Sam Allardyce's Palace have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool since the start of April, but came up just short against in-form Spurs as Christian Eriksen's 78th-minute goal secured an eighth straight league victory.
With league leaders Chelsea winning against Southampton on Tuesday, Tottenham could afford no hangover from their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Antonio Conte's men, although, for long periods, a winner looked unlikely at Selhurst Park.
Despite a second-half injury to Mamadou Sakho, Palace's defensive blockade stood firm until Eriksen's blast tore up a gameplan seemingly determined on containing Mauricio Pochettino's men.
While Palace remain a comfortable seven points clear of the relegation zone, this result gives Spurs renewed hope heading into the final five matches of the season - starting against rivals Arsenal on Sunday.
14 - Since his debut in September 2013, Christian Eriksen has scored more PL goals from outside the box than any other player. Range.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 26, 2017
Harry Kane's dipping strike faded wide to the right in the game's first notable effort, but Palace - and, in particular, Andros Townsend against his former club - made an energetic start.
Townsend teed up Christian Benteke to test Hugo Lloris with a low right-footed shot, while Tottenham's vastly superior possession statistics counted for little at the other end as Kyle Walker blazed over from a good position inside the area.
Eriksen worked Wayne Hennessey with a tame attempt from a tight angle, but the trickery of Wilfried Zaha and Townsend continued to trouble Spurs, the latter firing off target after wriggling free 20 yards from goal.
With the visitors conceding a number of fouls in the opening 45 minutes, Pochettino withdrew the combative midfield duo of Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama, before Palace were forced into a change of their own as Sakho was carried off the pitch on a stretcher following a challenge with Kane.
Tottenham swiftly seized the initiative and Dele Alli somehow steered a finish wide of the right-hand post after meeting Walker's superb cross.
74 – Tottenham have won 74 points in the Premier League this season; their best ever return in the competition. Flourishing. pic.twitter.com/QkY0eLh1Qq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 26, 2017
Hennessey gathered comfortably from Alli's curler, with the midfielder then laying the ball off for Walker to send a shot off target from the edge of the area.
While Townsend and Zaha struggled to replicate their menacing first-half form, Palace's sturdy back-line continued to keep Spurs at bay, Eric Dier nodding a rare opening high and wide.
Kane, too, got his head to a cross, redirecting the ball straight at Hennessey, but, just as it looked as though a goal would not arrive for Tottenham, the Palace goalkeeper was finally caught out 12 minutes from time.
Eriksen took aim from 25 yards and his strike skidded away from Hennessey into the bottom-left corner to earn a potentially vital three points in the title race.
Key Opta stats:
- Tottenham have won 74 points in the Premier League this season; their best ever return in the competition.
- Spurs have won eight consecutive league games for the first time since October 1960 (13 in a row).
- Eriksen has had a hand in 16 goals in his last 12 games in all competitions for Tottenham (5 goals, 11 assists).
- Spurs became the third Premier League side to score 100+ goals in all competitions this season - also Man City (105) and Arsenal (106).