Tottenham Hotspur tonight capped an unforgettable UEFA Champions League Group A campaign with another thriller as they secured top spot despite a 3-3 draw at FC Twente.
No matter how Harry Redknapp's men fare in the knockout stage, the manner in which they have gone about getting there is the stuff of Hollywood and it was no exception this evening. Needing to win to be certain of finishing above Inter Milan, Spurs led three times through a calamitous Peter Wisgerhof own goal and Jermain Defoe's first strikes since August.
Each advantage was quickly cancelled out, through a controversial twice-taken Denny Landzaat penalty and goals from Roberto Rosales and Nacer Chadli, but a draw proved enough as Inter lost at Werder Bremen.
Harry Redknapp kept to his word to field some fringe players, with Vedran Corluka making his first appearance for more than two months and Niko Kranjcar handed a rare start, while there were recalls for the fit-again Jermaine Jenas and Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Despite performing heroics in their maiden season in the competition, Tottenham had not recorded an away victory and Dutch champions Twente had lost only once at home in more than a year. And although already assured a UEFA Europa League spot, they had not forgotten September's controversial 4-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.
They certainly began like they were out for vengeance, Wout Brama's volley forcing an acrobatic parry from Heurelho Gomes and Theo Janssen curling a free-kick narrowly over. But they shot themselves in the foot in spectacular fashion in the 12th minute when 40-year-old goalkeeper Sander Boschker produced a near air shot on Wisgerhof's backpass and watched in horror as the ball span into the net.
The moment was celebrated by a pocket of Spurs fans Twente had housed near their own supporters, sparking a furious response from some behind the goal. They were much happier ten minutes later as the hosts levelled in circumstances almost as bizarre.
Rosales hit a rocket of a volley that smashed into Benoit Assou-Ekotto, and against his arm, according to referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, who pointed to the spot. Landzaat beat Gomes to his right but Velasco Carballo ordered a re-take, which the midfielder put straight down the middle.
There was more woe for Spurs when Jenas went down with what appeared a recurrence of his calf problem. He took his time leaving the field, giving the referee little option but to book him, meaning the midfielder will be suspended for the last-16 first leg. Aaron Lennon eventually came on to replace him for the final ten minutes of the half, with Kranjcar moving into the middle.
Twente might have taken the lead four minutes before the break after Marc Janko shanked a shot wide when Wisgerhof was much better placed. But Defoe also flicked over the top with the final kick of the half after a trademark run and cross from Gareth Bale.
Defoe strikes twice
The striker put Spurs back ahead within two minutes of the restart after Douglas failed to clear Bale's cross. Lennon pounced with a delightful reverse pass which Defoe coolly clipped over Boschker.
Chadli flicked a corner too close to Gomes, though it was looking good for Spurs as Werder Bremen took a 2-0 lead in their game with Inter. Yet again though, Tottenham's advantage lasted barely ten minutes as Twente equalised in the 56th minute when Rosales bulleted a header past Gomes from Janssen's cross.
This time parity lasted only three minutes as Wilson Palacios won the ball inside the Twente half, raced clear and saw his shot parried straight to Defoe, who made no mistake on the rebound.
Chadli then made it three goals in eight minutes with a stunning 25-yard free-kick as the home side incredibly equalised for a third time. They nearly took the lead for the first time in the 70th minute, Brama's curler forcing a fine save from Gomes, who was then almost caught out by Janssen's near-post corner.
Both sides made a change when Dario Vujicevic came on for Janko and Robbie Keane replaced Pavlyuchenko. Twente almost scored a second own goal when Douglas deflected Bale's low cross against the post.
Kranjcar hobbled off with four minutes remaining to be replaced by Peter Crouch and there was an ugly finish to the game after Spurs refused to kick the ball out following an injury to Luuk de Jong.