Gareth Bale scored his first goal since his return to Tottenham to secure Jose Mourinho's side a 2-1 victory over Brighton to move second in the Premier League.
Brought on in the 70th minute with the scores locked at 1-1, it took the 31-year-old just 200 seconds to make an impact, heading home Sergio Reguilon's cross to seal all three points.
Harry Kane had given Spurs the lead in the 13th minute after winning and scoring a penalty after a foul from Adam Lallana and some VAR intervention.
VAR was at the centre of Brighton's equaliser too as Tariq Lamptey's cool finish stood despite referee Graham Scott checking the pitchside monitor for a potential foul from Solly March on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
It was a controversial moment and a first for VAR in the Premier League, but it was soon all forgotten as Bale sealed all three points with his first goal for the club in seven years and 166 days.
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How Bale's impact sealed victory…
A bright start from the hosts was rewarded in the 13th minute after VAR's first intervention of the night. Referee Scott had awarded Spurs a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area after Lallana had barged into Kane, but VAR Jon Moss intervened and adjudged the incident to have taken place inside the penalty area.
Kane needed no second invitation, sending Robert Sanchez the wrong way for his 149th Premier League goal.
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Doherty (6), Alderweireld (7), Dier (7), Regulion (8), Sissoko (7), Hojbjerg (8), Lamela (6), Ndombele (5), Son (6), Kane (7).
Subs: Lo Celso (6), Bale (8), Davies (n/a).
Brighton: Sanchez (7), Webster (6), Veltman (6), Burn (6), Lamptey (7), White (7), Bissouma (7), Lallana (5), Gross (7), March (7), Trossard (5).
Subs: Bernardo (6), Welbeck (6), Mac Allister (n/a).
Man of the match: Gareth Bale.
Not long after, Brighton thought they should have had a penalty, but they were left incensed with VAR. Leandro Trossard went to ground in the box and it appeared Matt Doherty may have pulled him back, but Moss waved away the appeals.
The equaliser did eventually come 11 minutes after the break and VAR was at the centre once again.
Brighton regained possession high up the pitch following a challenge from March on Hojbjerg. Spurs wanted a foul but the referee, who was in an excellent position to see the incident, let play continue as Pascal Gross set up Lamptey, who slotted home for his first senior goal.
It was recommended that Scott check his decision on the pitchside monitor but after watching several replays of March's tackle, he allowed the goal to stand, citing a small touch on the ball to Kane, who protested.
The goal woke Spurs up and they hit the woodwork twice. Lamela's long-range effort struck the foot of the post before Sanchez had to show off his reactions to keep out Joel Veltman's clearance from the rebound.
Moments later, Kane was unable to squeeze Bale's flick-on in at the far post as the ball struck the outside of the post and went behind.
- Tottenham reverted to their strongest side for the clash with Brighton. Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Eric Dier, Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were among those to be recalled to the side after Jose Mourinho was unhappy with his fringe players in Thursday's Europa League defeat to Royal Antwerp. Dele Alli was dumped from the squad along with Carlos Vinicius, Serge Aurier and Steven Bergwijn.
- Meanwhile, Robert Sanchez was handed his debut in goal for Brighton, with Mat Ryan dropped to the bench.
However, they eventually regained the lead and sealed victory when an unmarked Bale powered home Reguilon's superb cross from eight yards.
What the managers said…
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho: First of all, it's three points. When teams with more power and history, one of the top six let's say, has a difficult match against the others it is always analysed as the top team not playing well.
"It is time to give credit to these guys. Not just to Brighton, the majority of the teams. They are getting better, they are very well coached, the difference in quality of players between the teams is not huge. The game is very difficult for us, we beat a good team and it was very difficult. They had periods when they were better than us. The good thing for me is that when they equalised we had the reaction.
On VAR: "I prefer to stay away [from VAR]. Probably the referee should go to the press conference and explain. He had time to go to the screen so only he can explain why it is a goal. He is a good ref and a good guy, only he can explain that decision. My view doesn't matter.
"In 2004 when I came to England there were certain matches that the top teams knew was three points - not anymore. Now this is the best league in the world, not just because of the top six, for every team. The Premier League, everyone is close. If we drop two points, we can be seventh, eighth, ninth. The Premier League is beautiful."
Brighton boss Graham Potter: "We played well for big periods of the game and pushed Tottenham all the way. A lot of positives for us, you need the fine margins to go your way.
"The second goal was disappointing. We can do better and up until that point we were pushing and pushing. They can bring on Gareth Bale. They are as strong as anybody I have seen so far.
On VAR: "I'm confused by everything to be honest about our equaliser. When you watch it live it could have been a foul, he didn't see it, and I'm confused by our penalty shout as well to be honest. That's VAR for you."
Man of the match - Gareth Bale
He may have only been on the pitch for just over 20 minutes, but Gareth Bale showed his undoubted quality.
Moments after coming off the bench, it was his header which gave Kane a golden opportunity to put Spurs back in the lead, but the England striker could not squeeze his shot past the post from a tight angle.
It didn't matter though as Bale took matters into his own hands, combining with Reguilon to emphatically head home into the bottom corner.
It was the moment he had been waiting for since his return on loan from Real Madrid to Spurs and everyone involved with Spurs will be hoping it's the first of many moments and that he can kick on from here.
Bale: Massive for me to make mark
Gareth Bale, speaking to Sky Sports:
"It's a great feeling. You just want to come on and do a job for the team. I worked for the team and was lucky enough to get the goal. It was obviously great play from Sergio Reguilon and I was in the right place at the right time. It's nice to get off the mark.
"Everyone always talks about individuals but I've always said I'm a team player, I'd be happy coming on doing a job even if it's defending. The most important thing is the collective.
"Gareth Bale is very stable, very mature, he knows his body better than anyone, we know where we want to go and he's with us on that journey. He doesn't have 90 minutes of Premier League in his legs, the Europa League is helping him to get there. Today he came and scored, he is more dynamic than he was against West Ham, more agile."
"We are growing every game. Even if we make mistakes we are learning from them and we can only use that as a positive. I haven't played a lot of football. I had a little problem with my knee so it's taking a bit of time. I am working hard in training and when I get chances."
On Spurs competing for the title: "It's very competitive, we know not to get too carried away. There are some great teams, we are just going to keep working as hard as we can."
Opta stats - Spurs on the march
Tottenham have now won four of their six Premier League games since their opening day defeat to Everton (D2), currently embarking on their joint-longest unbeaten run in the competition under José Mourinho.
Spurs (14 points) will end the day as high as second in the Premier League table for the first time since February 2019 under Mauricio Pochettino.
Brighton have lost two of their four away games in the Premier League this season (W1 D1), as many as in their previous nine on the road (W2 D5).
Only the current bottom three sides have lost more games in the Premier League this season than Brighton (4), whilst only league leaders Liverpool (15) have shipped more goals than the Seagulls (14).
Tottenham travel to Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday at 5.55pm, and then face a trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom at 12pm on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Brighton, meanwhile, host Burnley on Friday November 6 (5.30pm), live on Sky Sports Box Office.