Leicester 17-12 Bath
Leicester (0) 17
- Tries: Thompstone
- Pens: Ford 4
Bath (5) 12
- Tries: Donald, Biggs
- Cons: Donald
Leicester came from behind to win a bad-tempered clash with Bath which saw three men sent off.
Tries from Stephen Donald and Tom Biggs helped give Bath a 12-6 lead after 57 minutes, George Ford kicking two penalties for Tigers.
But the visitors then had South African Francois Louw dismissed before Adam Thompstone's try cut the deficit.
Two more Ford penalties, either side of Bath's Matt Banahan and Tigers' Brett Deacon also seeing red, sealed the win.
All three dismissals came in the space of five minutes, and with Bath already down to 14 men after Simon Taylor was sin-binned.
Louw was first to see red for use of an elbow, before Banahan was sent off for a high tackle on Anthony Allen, who was carried off on a stretcher after receiving lengthy treatment.
Banahan was followed down the tunnel by Deacon, who was sent off after the incident after appearing to throw a punch.
The two dismissals, coupled with Donald also being sin-binned for also appearing to throw a punch, effectively ended Bath's hopes of a rare victory at Welford Road.
That looked possible after Donald capitalised on Nick Abendanon's break to throw a couple of dummies before running over full-back Mathew Tait for the only score of the first half.
Two Ford penalties handed Tigers a slender lead, but Bath were back in front when Biggs cantered over after good work by Donald and Banahan.
Louw was dismissed moments later and Leicester immediately took advantage as Thompstone scored after a line-out was driven to the line.
Ford missed the conversion but kicked a penalty to put Leicester 14-12 ahead before Banahan and Deacon were also sent off.
And with Donald also in the sin-bin, Ford sealed victory for Tigers with his fourth penalty 12 minutes from time.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill:
"Banahan is a big man, he's not a dirty player. He has gone in and hit him high.
"The laws are a bit mad. If Louw has dropped an elbow on someone is it a red? Probably not. It might be a yellow, but that's the world we live in.
"Banahan hits a bloke and knocks him unconscious, but it looks a lot worse than it is. Brett Deacon retaliates and he is off.
"If you go back to the 1990s when this side was very aggressive we would have three blokes a side. I don't necessarily agree with how it's refereed but that's the way it is."
Bath head coach Toby Booth:
"I am a bit shell-shocked. When you come to Welford Road you have to be extremely competitive and we spoke about that a lot this week.
"Self-control is part of a professional player's make-up. Some of the issues we saw out there were self-control issues, others were consistency issues.
"I am not going to stand here and say it should not have been (red card). I did not see Francois' incident, it was off camera.
"Allen ducked into a tackle from Banners and he has caught him high. We are bitterly disappointed because we thought we had an opportunity today."
Leicester: Tait, Morris, Smith, Allen, Thompstone, Ford, Young, Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, L. Deacon, Kitchener, B. Deacon, Salvi, Waldrom.
Replacements: Murphy for Tait (56), Slater for Smith (69), Hawkins for Chuter (61), Crane for Waldrom (64). Not Used: Harris, Balmain, Phibbs, Bowden.
Sent Off: B. Deacon (64).
Bath: Abendanon, Eastmond, Agulla, Banahan, Biggs, Donald, Claassens, James, Mears, Perenise, Hooper, Attwood, Louw, Mercer, Taylor.
Replacements: Cuthbert for Eastmond (52), McMillan for Claassens (70), Sharman for Mears (72), Palma-Newport for Perenise (77), Ovens for Mercer (62). Not Used: Beech, Heathcote, Day.
Sin Bin: Taylor (50), Donald (65).
Sent Off: Louw (59), Banahan (64).
Ref: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU).