Brighton edged closer to Premier League safety with a hard-earned point against a much-changed Tottenham side.
Harry Kane’s 26th league goal of the season, following Gaetan Bong’s error, put Spurs in sight of an 11th away win.
But Brighton were behind for just two minutes, Pascal Gross levelling with an excellent penalty after Serge Aurier had caught Jose Izquierdo.
The Seagulls are without a win in six games but are eight points above the relegation zone with four games left.
Spurs almost won it through an own goal when Shane Duffy deflected Christian Eriksen’s cross a fraction wide.
Much-changed Spurs fail to impress
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, a competition which could earn Tottenham a first trophy since 2008, as he made six changes to his side.
Dele Alli and Davinson Sanchez were rested while Toby Alderweireld, who has failed to agree a new contract, was drafted in for his first Premier League appearance since October.
Spurs lacked their usual zip as their fringe players struggled to turn on the style in the club’s 50th competitive game of the season.
They remain fourth in the table, two points behind third-placed Liverpool and eight ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea, but are now without a win in two league games having gone 14 unbeaten before last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City.
“Saturday was so tough mentally and physically,” Pochettino told BBC Sport afterwards.
“The team wasn’t fresh enough. That is why we tried to add some fresh legs. We’re disappointed because the idea was to win.
“At the same time we have one point more and the gap with Chelsea is eight points.”
Son Heung-min was denied his 13th league goal by Mathew Ryan’s tremendous save at the end of a goalless first half before the South Korea international’s perseverance saw Kane break the deadlock three minutes after the re-start.
Son was sharp to react after Bong’s careless play and his clever ball for Kane allowed the England international to score with a shot which deflected off Bruno before finding the net.
However, Spurs quickly conceded an equaliser as gritty Brighton took a big step towards survival.
Seagulls all but safe?
Brighton fans celebrated at the final whistle as though their team had secured Premier League survival, but manager Chris Hughton will certainly not be popping the champagne corks until it is mathematically certain.
Nevertheless this was a crucial point a year to the day since Brighton ended their 34-year exile from the top-flight by sealing promotion from the Championship.
Their last four games are away to Europa League-chasing Burnley and champions Manchester City, and home to Manchester United and Liverpool, but eight-point gap should be enough, particularly as their performance against Spurs showed they have the appetite for a battle.
“It’s a result we deserved,” former Tottenham defender Hughton said.
“We know we have got four big games but a performance like that against a team of Tottenham’s quality will certainly give this group of lads confidence.”
Asked if the Seagulls are now safe, Hughton added: “No and only because I can’t afford to think that way.
“Probably the most important thing on my mind now is making sure that we can try and put in the same type of effort and the same type of performance in these last four games.”
Lewis Dunk tested Hugo Lloris with a bullet header while Anthony Knockaert also forced a smart save before half-time.
Even when they fell behind Brighton’s players refused to let their heads drop, with Gross producing a textbook penalty to level before they dug in for an impressive result.
Brighton still have work to do to secure a second season in the Premier League, but they are showing the character they’ll need to get over the line.
The run-in – who plays who?
|v Burnley (a) 28 April||v Manchester United (FA Cup semi-final) 21 April|
|v Manchester United (h) 4 May||v Watford (h) 30 April|
|v Manchester City (a) 9 May||v West Bromwich Albion (a) 5 May|
|v Liverpool (a) 13 May||v Newcastle United (h) 9 May|
|v Leicester City (a) 13 May|
Man of the match – Mathew Ryan (Brighton)
Kane an away-day specialist – the stats
- Harry Kane has now scored 15 away goals in the Premier League this season – only Kevin Phillips in 1999-00 (16) has scored more on the road in a single campaign.
- Tottenham failed to win a league game in which they were ahead for only the second time this season, with the other game being a 1-1 draw with Burnley in August.
- Pascal Gross has been directly involved in 43.8% of Brighton’s 32 Premier League goals this season (six goals, eight assists). Only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (50%) has been involved in a higher proportion of his team’s goals.
- No side has drawn more home games this season than Brighton (eight, level with West Brom).
- Kane has now scored against 26 of the 27 different clubs he’s faced in the Premier League (96.3%) – the exception being Cardiff City.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in 13 away games in all competitions – only once have they ever had a longer run (15 between April 1949 and January 1950).
Brighton do not play again until 28 April when they travel to face Burnley in the Premier League (15:00 BST) while Tottenham look to take a significant step towards winning the FA Cup for the first time since 1991 when they play Manchester United in the semi-final at Wembley on Saturday (17:15).