LONDON: Tottenham's Christian Eriksen came off the bench to keep alive bid to qualify for the Champions League last 16 as the Danish star's late strike sealed a 1-0 tense win over Inter Milan on Wednesday (Nov 28).
Mauricio Pochett's side was eliminated at the group stage as they labored to break down the massed Inter defense at Wembley.
But Eriksen, surprisingly dropped to bench by Pochettino, came to Tottenham's rescue when he fired home to take their Group B qualification bid down to the final game.
It was a hard time to fight that Tottenham had to avoid bowing out for the group stage for the second time in three seasons.
After taking one of the three opening matches, Tottenham had been scored twice to avoid PSV Eindhoven earlier this month.
And this latest act of European escapology means second placed Tottenham are now level on points with third placed Inter.
They head to Barcelona to face the group leaders on December 11 knowing their win will seal their last 16 berth, regardless of how Inter fare against PSV on the same night.
Pochettino left Eriksen and Son Heung-Min were impressed with the impressive performances in Saturday's win against Chelsea.
The situation is "massive motivation" for Tottenham to silence the critics who say they have their chance to make the last 16.
His players seemed to have taken the first half.
Harry Kane set the tone, barging through the Inter defense to force Samir Handanovic to push shot onto a post.
Lucas Moura appealed for vain for a penalty after being loved by Inter's Matteo Politano.
A muscular run from Kane ended with Dele Alli firing just over the edge of the area.
Moussa Sissoko led another rapid Tottenham raid featuring an exquisite Alli dummy, but Lucas Moura couldn't finish off the move as he shot straight at Handanovic.
Inter's knowledge that would make them competitive at Wembley with extreme caution.
Content to defend deep for long periods, Inter's safety-first game was almost undone when Harry Winks from 25 yards.
Matias Vecino drilled wide as Inter finally launched the early in the second half note.
That was the signal for Milan to come out of their shell a little and close to converting at the far post.
Pochettino was sent to the mounting sense of desperation by sending on Son for the last half of the Eriksen hour and introduced 10 minutes later.
It proved an inspired Eriksen move turned on the game in Tottenham's favor.
Eriksen's first touch was almost a goal when his free-kick was wide-awake miss by Jan Vertonghen.
Hugo Lloris made a fine save to deny Ivan Perisic and later Tottenham moments were ahead.
Eriksen ensured Vertonghen did not live to rue his miss as the Danish playmaker broke the deadlock in the 80th minute.
At last unlocking the stubborn Inter defense, a sweeping move featured Sissoko and Alli exchanging passes before Eriksen was teed up for a cool finish from 10 yards out.
Pochettino's relief is clear and has a pumped his fists, but Tottenham still has one last edit hurdle to overcome in Barcelona before they can celebrate a last 16 months.
UEFA Champions League group phase results:
Atletico Madrid 2 Monaco 0
Borussia Dortmund 0 Club Brugge 0
Tottenham 1 Inter Milan 0
PSV Eindhoven 1 Barcelona 2
Napoli 3 Red Star Belgrade 1
Paris Saint-Germain 2 Liverpool 1
Lokomotiv Moscow 2 Galatasaray 0
Porto 3 Schalke 1