Steven Bergwijn's stunning volley on his debut helped Tottenham to a 2-0 victory over 10-man Manchester City, who missed a first-half penalty.
City were reduced to 10 men after Oleksandr Zinchenko picked up two needless yellows (60), before debutant Bergwijn's superb chest down and instinctive volley from just inside the box gave Spurs the lead with their first shot on goal (63).
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Spurs got their second as Heung-Min Son's low effort from the edge deflected off the foot of Fernandinho and flew past Ederson (71), all coming after a first half in which City dominated before more VAR drama.
Sergio Aguero had hit the post early on, but VAR stole the headlines in the first half as Serge Aurier gave away a penalty via a delayed VAR decision for a foul on the Argentine. Ilkay Gundogan's spot-kick was saved by Hugo Lloris (40), before VAR then checked if Lloris had brought Raheem Sterling down at the ensuing rebound, but VAR confirmed he had not and stuck with Mike Dean's call of no penalty.
The result means Spurs close the gap on fourth-place Chelsea to four points, while Liverpool now lead Manchester City by 22 points with just 39 left to play for this season.
Tottenham: Lloris (8), Aurier (6), Alderweireld (7), Sanchez (7), Tanganga (6), Lo Celso (7), Winks (7), Bergwijn (8), Alli (6), Son (7), Moura (8)
Subs: Ndombele (7), Lamela (6), Dier (NA)
Man City: Ederson (5), Walker (5), Otamendi (5), Fernandinho (6), Zinchenko (4), Rodri (6), Gundogan (5), De Bruyne (6), Mahrez (7), Aguero (5), Sterling (6).
Subs: Cancelo (5), Jesus (5), Bernardo Silva (NA)
Man of the match: Steven Bergwijn.
How Spurs capitalised to send City packing
Jose Mourinho said before the game he wanted his side to be offensive, despite the lack of a natural striker, but Spurs spent most of the first period pinned in their half.
There was early controversy as VAR checked a studs-up challenge from Sterling on Dele Alli, and though the decision remained as nothing more than a yellow, Mourinho described it as a clear red card after the game.
Aguero came closest for a dominant City, hitting the foot of the post via the foot of Lloris after Riyad Mahrez had capitalised on some clumsy Spurs defending to slip him through, before a period of VAR chaos ensued.
Aurier clipped Aguero in the box, and despite waving away the appeal at first, Mike Dean stopped play a minute later to award the spot kick via VAR Kevin Friend.
Spurs fury swiftly turned to jubilation as Lloris saved low down to his left from Gundogan, his first penalty miss for City, but as Lloris looked to gather the rebound ahead of Sterling, he initially looked to catch the England international for another spot kick.
It was looked at by VAR, but Dean's call of no penalty was upheld. Both sets of players were involved in a scuffle, while Mourinho furiously waved his arms at fourth official Graham Scott after the mayhem.
That lifted the home crowd, but City kept coming, Aguero sliced wide from close range at an angle just before the break, and Gundogan blazed over on the stretch with just Toby Alderweireld on the line from Sterling's centre and Lloris stranded.
Steven Bergwijn was given a starting debut as Erik Lamela dropped to the bench. There were two other Spurs changes from their 2-1 win over Norwich, as Japhet Tanganga returned at left-back in place of Ryan Sessegnon, and Davinson Sanchez replaced Jan Vertonghen.
Sergio Aguero returned to the starting line-up after coming off the bench against Sheffield United in their last Premier League game to score the winner, meaning Gabriel Jesus had to settle for a place among the substitutes. The other change from that game saw Aymeric Laporte remain absent from the squad, with Ilkay Gundogan coming into central midfield.
Zinchenko, who had been booked in the first half for his part in the scuffle after the penalty, was then dismissed for a cynical shove on Harry Winks near halfway, and City then fell apart.
Bergwijn, the £27m signing from PSV, repaid some of that fee back immediately by breaking the deadlock, chesting down from just inside the box before volleying low through the crowd and past Ederson.
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Spurs got their second as Son wriggled free just outside the box, seeing his fierce effort flick off the boot of Fernandinho and into the bottom left corner.
City huffed and puffed to halve the deficit, but their numerical deficit made it an uphill task, meaning Pep Guardiola's City went back-to-back games without scoring for the first time. For Mourinho, a first win over a top six side in nine attempts was much needed as he looks to prove he has made a real difference in these parts.
VAR chaos: What happened?
- In the 38th minute, Aurier challenged Aguero in the area - Dean's on-field decision was no penalty and because the ball remained in play, the game continued while the VAR checked for a possible penalty.
- The VAR then determined that Aurier had tripped Aguero and when the ball was in a neutral area the VAR Kevin Friend recommended that the referee stop play and award the penalty, taken two minutes after the incident.
- From the resulting missed penalty by Gundogan, Dean determined no foul had occurred as Lloris and Sterling challenged for the ball. The VAR checked this incident and advised that the on-field decision was correct.
Sterling: Red or no red
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho was left furious that Sterling had not been sent off for his 12th-minute challenge on Alli, and fumed to Sky Sports after the game that he felt consistency was lacking in the top flight.
He said: "We can look at the perspective of being a bit lucky with a couple of situations where they hit the post or missed a good chance, but we can also see we were very unlucky the VAR didn't decide Sterling should have had a red card, which is clear. I see other situations where the decision like Sterling's is a red card. Son's against Chelsea, and for me, it's a straight red.
"From that moment it's a different game playing 75 minutes or something like that against 10 men. 11 vs 11 is really difficult and hard, but my boys were very well organised, with great discipline, we know how we can score goals, how we cannot score goals, and we were waiting or our chances."
Former Spurs defender and Sky Sports pundit Chris Hughton had some sympathy with Mourinho's viewpoint, saying the decision appeared borderline, but backed referee Dean's initial call to issue Sterling a yellow.
He said: "I think that it wasn't a red card on Sterling, and I know what it looks like when you slow things down.
"But I accept that if I'm sitting where Jose Mourinho is now, I'm probably thinking it's a red card. It's close and it's debatable, but because he's quite upright it's one that looks worse when it's slowed down.
"It was the ideal opportunity for Mike Dean to be allowed to look at the monitor. We keep speaking about how many times they've used it, and they used it at Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. It would've been a good time to do that. Would he have seen it differently? I don't know."
Pep Guardiola conceded the title to Liverpool as Manchester City suffered a sixth Premier League defeat of the season at Tottenham, but is remaining optimistic for the future.
Guardiola has never lost as many league games in a single season during his management career, and their latest setback leaves his side 22 points adrift of runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Analysis from Sky Sports' Nick Wright...
"Jose Mourinho promised Tottenham supporters they would "love" Steven Bergwijn "sooner or later" following his arrival from PSV Eindhoven this week. As it turned out, the £27m Dutchman only needed one appearance to earn a place in their hearts.
"Oleksandr Zinchenko's red card was the turning point in what will be remembered as the first big win of the Mourinho era. But it was Bergwijn who made the crucial breakthrough, his opening goal arriving less than three minutes after Manchester City were reduced to 10 men."
- Manchester City have now lost six games in the Premier League this season; their joint-most in a single campaign under manager Pep Guardiola (six in 2016-17).
- Steven Bergwijn's opener for Spurs saw him become the 250th player to score on his debut in the Premier League, and the 13th Dutchman to do so.
- Manchester City have failed to score four of the last six penalties they have taken across all competitions, with three different players accounting for these failed spot kicks (Gabriel Jesus x2, Sterling and Gundogan).
Tottenham's winter break has been cut by half a week, with Southampton here next on Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth-round replay at 7.45pm, before Spurs go to Aston Villa on Super Sunday on February 16, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 2pm.
City's winter break comes after the coming weekend's fixtures; they host West Ham on Super Sunday at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 4.30pm.