Tottenham Hotspur successfully made it through to the knockout phase of the Champions League for the first time in three years after a last-ditch comeback against Marseille saw them come out on top of Group D in a frenetic finale.
The results of the group's previous 10 matches meant that literally all four teams in Group D could still qualify for the round of 16 or be eliminated from the competition at the start of Tuesday's games. As the night progressed, three of the four clubs involved went top of the group over the course of 90 or so bewildering minutes.
To suggest that Group D was delicately poised heading into the final round of fixtures is something of an understatement, with just two points separating top and bottom. Spurs began the evening top, leading second-placed Sporting CP by a single point with the Portuguese side in turn leading third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on their head-to-head record alone.
Marseille began proceedings at the foot of the pile but knew that victory over Spurs, coupled with favourable results elsewhere, could still see them end up as group winners, ensuring they would avoid most of the strongest teams left in the competition in the draw for the round of 16. Conversely, a solitary point for Antonio Conte's side would have seen them go through, no matter what happened in Lisbon.
Six goals were scored as the lead changed hands repeatedly and all four competing clubs found themselves in the top two with their hands on a Champions League knockout qualification berth at some stage.
Here's a timeline of all the goals scored during the two games and exactly how they changed the complexion of the Group D table as it stood.
39': Arthur Gomes (SPORTING 1-0 Frankfurt)
Gomes puts Sporting ahead and sends his side leapfrogging to the top of Group D with the first goal of the night. Tottenham sink to second as a direct result.
45'+2: Chancel Mbemba (MARSEILLE 1-0 Tottenham)
MBEMBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA— Olympique de Marseille 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) November 1, 2022
Things continue to slide for Spurs as former Newcastle centre-back Mbemba puts Marseille ahead at the Stade Velodrome in first-half injury time. The goal catapults the French side up into second place behind Sporting while Spurs tumble down to third (the Europa League qualification spot). At the break it's Sporting and Marseille going through with Spurs and Frankfurt heading out.
54': Clement Lenglet (Marseille 1-1 TOTTENHAM)
Tottenham take less than 10 minutes after the restart to restore parity in France through full-back Clement Lenglet on his 50th Champions League appearance. The defender's headed goal boosts Spurs back up into second place behind Sporting, who are still leading against Frankfurt for the time being. Meanwhile, Marseille drop to third.
62': Daichi Kamada (Sporting 1-1 FRANKFURT)
Kamada hauls Frankfurt back into the reckoning from the penalty spot with a goal that ousts Sporting from the summit of the Group D table and, as a direct consequence, allows Tottenham to reclaim the top spot.
72': Randal Kolo Muani (Sporting 1-2 FRANKFURT)
Frankfurt score a second goal in the space of 10 frantic minutes in Lisbon to propel themselves right to the top of Group D, above Tottenham in second place and Marseille in third. After falling behind for the first time on the night, Sporting are shunted to the bottom of the table after being at the top 11 minutes earlier.
90'+5: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Marseille 1-2 TOTTENHAM)
Kane plays in Hojbjerg who rifles it home!— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 1, 2022
WE'VE WON THE GROUP!!!
Cometh the hour, cometh the hero, as Kane orchestrates a breakaway and sets up Hojbjerg to fire a strike in off the far post and see Tottenham surge back from the brink to finish top of Group D. Meanwhile, Frankfurt put the seal on their simultaneous comeback win to finish second as poor old Sporting wash up in third place, one point above Marseille.
Spurs celebrated wildly as the final whistle sounded at the Stade Velodrome, having dramatically booked themselves a place in the Champions League round of 16 just half an hour after they were staring elimination square in the face.
BANG 🎇 pic.twitter.com/wiG8JKeN5C— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 1, 2022
The club heralded their safe passage through to the next phase with a pointed tweet of a single word and an emoji, in reference to the impromptu pyrotechnic displays conducted directly outside their team hotel by mischievous Marseille fans at 1.30 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. on the night before the game.
GO ON HARRY LAD 🕺🏽 pic.twitter.com/AId5drnOt2— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) November 1, 2022
Spurs striker Kane allowed himself a little victory dance in the dressing room.
Antonio Conte's reaction to tonight's result is everything 💙— The Spurs Web (@thespursweb) November 1, 2022
Antonio Conte was forced to watch the drama unfold from the stands after receiving a red card for a VAR-related outburst last time out against Sporting. Still, that didn't prevent the animated Italian coach from heralding his team's fantastic fightback as he cheered and pumped his fists up in the terraces.
A topsy-turvy night that Conte will never forget and quite the way to mark his one-year anniversary in charge of Tottenham.