Tottenham Hotspur have put themselves in pole position to claim a top-four finish after they snatched a 1-0 win over Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan's Brighton & Hove Albion while Southampton's Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history in their 1-1 draw at Watford.
Christian Eriksen fired in Tottenham's winner past Ryan two minutes from time to dash relegation-threatened Brighton's hopes of a point in the battle for survival.
At Watford, Long set the EPL record with the fastest ever goal, at 7.69 seconds.
However, Southampton conceded a late equaliser when Andre Gray struck to leave the Saints six points clear of the drop zone.
"It's nice to have a record like that, but it would have been nicer if it was the winning goal," Long said.
Spurs are now third on their own, three points clear of Chelsea with three games to play for the London sides - in the battle for Champions League berths.
Fifth-placed Arsenal, one point back of Chelsea, and sixth-placed Manchester United, another two points away, each still have a game in hand.
Brighton are fourth-bottom, three points clear of Cardiff City.
Ryan, with the aid of stubborn defending from his teammates, was just minutes away from a clean sheet before Eriksen finally broke the deadlock with a low strike from the edge of the box.
"I had a few warm-up shots before the goal," the Danish star said. "I hit it well and saw it fly in.
"It is very important to stay where we are, we needed to do something special. To stay in our place we had to win, there was no other option."
Brighton manager Chris Hughton said he had to lift his side before the weekend match against Newcastle United.
"We put on a gritty defensive performance and that speaks volumes," he said.
"We have to take that into Saturday against Newcastle and that becomes out biggest game... We have to get a result, whichever way we do it."
Visitors Southampton started in stunning fashion when Long netted.
His clever finish, lifted over the goalkeeper, inside eight seconds beating the record that had been held by former Tottenham defender Ledley King.
The goal looked like giving Southampton all three points but Watford snatched a point when Gray scored in the 90th minute.
The Hornets moved up one place to seventh.
Australian Associated Press