Tottenham had two players sent off as they missed the chance to guarantee Champions League football next season after Nathan Ake scored an injury-time winner for Bournemouth.
It was far from ideal preparation for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who face Ajax in the Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday in Amsterdam, having lost the first leg 1-0.
Son Heung-min was dismissed for pushing Jefferson Lerma at the end of a frantic first half, in which Eric Dier was lucky not to have been sent off and Bournemouth could conceivably have had two penalties.
Then, just over two minutes after coming on at half-time, Juan Foyth was also shown a straight red card as he slid studs-up into Jack Simpson.
Spurs have now won just once in their past four league games and stay third on 70 points, four points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have two games remaining.
Champions League qualification is still in Tottenham’s hands, and they need to beat Everton in their final league game on 12 May to make sure of a top-four spot.
“It is very painful to play with two players less than the opponent,” Pochettino said.
“We need to move on. We cannot change the decisions. We have ahead two finals against Ajax and Everton. It is in our hands. If it does not happen we will be proud because nobody expected Tottenham to be in the position they are today.
“We are fighting six teams, it is impossible for all six to get the top four, whatever happens I will feel proud and whatever happens in the semi-final I will be proud.”
Bournemouth gave a senior debut to 19-year-old Irish goalkeeper Mark Travers and he made five saves in the first half to keep Spurs at bay, but was a spectator in the second half.
Despite their numerical advantage, the Cherries were unable to capitalise until Ake popped up to score in the 91st minute, heading in from a Ryan Fraser corner.
Spurs see red
How Pochettino would have wanted a straightforward win and the chance to rest players with the biggest game of his managerial career looming on Wednesday.
But his side made things far from easy and were the creators of their own downfall.
Dier was the first into Craig Pawson’s book as early as the 11th minute, with a bad tackle on Fraser and he could easily have received a second booking with a mistimed lunge on Joshua King as he stopped a Bournemouth counter-attack.
Hugo Lloris could have conceded a penalty when he collided with King, as the Norwegian tried to poke the ball past him.
And the Cherries had another penalty shout when Dier booted the back of Callum Wilson’s ankle as he went to shoot.
Son’s uncharacteristic red card came in the 43rd minute as he let his frustration boil over after he was pulled up for a foul on Fraser and he shoved Lerma, who dramatically fell to the ground.
Spurs had been on top in the first half, testing debutant Travers on a number of occasions and, while Son’s sending-off made things hard, Foyth’s senseless challenge made it almost impossible.
The Argentine came on for Toby Alderweireld, but he had just three touches in two minutes and 13 seconds before he caught Simpson.
They failed to register a shot on target in the second half and as Bournemouth ratcheted up the pressure, Ake’s goal was a matter of when, not if.
Pochettino will have to somehow pick his tired players up for the Ajax game, against a team who have already eliminated Real Madrid and Juventus.
But they go into that game in some of their worst form of the season, having suffered three consecutive defeats and five in their past six games in all competitions.
Travers impresses on debut
All the pre-match talk had been about Travers’ debut two weeks before his 20th birthday, with the youngster chosen ahead of 31-year-old Asmir Begovic who was not in the squad and 39-year-old Artur Boruc who sat on the bench.
He is the youngest Premier League goalkeeper to make his debut since Joe Hart in 2006, and his last first-team game came on loan for Weymouth at Gosport on New Year’s Day 2018 – having begun that spell by scoring from his own half with a free-kick.
This was a strong debut – he was happy to leave his area and was confident on the ball.
His eagerness to stray out of his box almost saw him concede a goal from the half-way line when Lucas Moura took aim in the eighth minute from 35 yards, but sent his shot wide.
But then came a string of fine saves – he acrobatically tipped efforts from Moura and Dele Alli over the bar and saved a one-one-one against Moura with his feet.
“It’s always a gamble to start someone who’s never played but on what we’ve seen I think he deserved an opportunity,” said Cherries boss Eddie Howe. “You couldn’t write a better debut. He’s a great guy.”
At the other end of the pitch, Bournemouth used their pace well against Spurs, forcing them to concede free-kicks as Dier, Alderweireld and Moussa Sissoko were all booked as they struggled against the counter-attack.
But after Foyth’s sending off they barely threatened until a final five-minute barrage that got them their goal.
Although safe in mid-table, it was a much-needed win for Eddie Howe’s side who won their first home game in six and now have a slightly better record of three wins in their last 13 matches.
Their Premier League record points total to date is 46 in 2016-17 and they can surpass that tally if they beat Crystal Palace next week.
“It was huge for us to win after we went a long time without winning at home,” added Howe. “It has tailed off the last few weeks and we were very keen to end on high note.”
Man of the match – Mark Travers
Spurs away day blues – The best stats
- Ake has scored two of Bournemouth’s five 90th-minute winning goals in the Premier League, also doing so against Liverpool in December 2016.
- Tottenham have lost six consecutive away Premier League matches for the first time since May 2004 under David Pleat.
- Fraser has registered 14 Premier League assists this season – no player has more in the top five European leagues (also Jadon Sancho on 14).
- Foyth was sent off 133 seconds after coming on as a substitute for Spurs – the fastest red card for a sub in a Premier League game since Steven Gerrard was red-carded after 38 seconds in March 2015 for Liverpool against Manchester United.
- Travers (aged 19 years and 351 days) became the first teenage goalkeeper to start a Premier League game since Joe Hart for Manchester City in October 2006.
- Son is the fifth Asian player to receive a Premier League red card, after Sun Jihai, Li Tie, Hidetoshi Nakata and Maya Yoshida.
- Spurs became the first team to receive two red cards in a Premier League game since Chelsea against Burnley in August 2017, and the first to receive two straight red cards since Manchester City against Chelsea in December 2016.
- Since the start of the 2015-16 season, teams facing Bournemouth have received 18 red cards – five more than any other club has seen an opponent red carded in that time.
Bournemouth travel to Crystal Palace for their final game of the season on 12 May (15:00 BST).
Spurs face Ajax on Wednesday (20:00) as they battle for a place in the Champions League final, before their final Premier League match against Everton on 12 May (15:00).