Match ends, Watford 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.
Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Son Heung-Min scored a dramatic late winner as Tottenham moved up to third in the Premier League with victory over 10-man Watford.
Erik Lamela put the visitors in front when he stroked in a shot after Dele Alli dispossessed Craig Cathcart.
Odion Ighalo equalised when his determination helped him beat Eric Dier and poke home.
Nathan Ake was sent off for a challenge on Lamela before Son scored with a deft flick from Kieran Trippier's cross.
Late drama at Vicarage Road
Tottenham had struggled to make the most of their numerical advantage following Ake's dismissal on 63 minutes.
Indeed Watford looked the more likely goalscorers in the closing stages as they earned a succession of corners and could have taken the lead themselves.
Ben Watson's corner almost crept in before keeper Hugo Lloris fended the ball away, with goalline technology showing the ball was only inches away from going in.
Moments later, Spurs scored the winner. Trippier's crosses from the right had caused the hosts problems throughout and it was his delivery that led to Son's clincher.
There was a suggestion of offside in the build-up to the goal, but referee Anthony Taylor allowed it to stand.
Should Ake have been sent off?
Ake caught Lamela studs first and high on the leg as he attempted to get to a bouncing ball.
Taylor took his time before producing his red card to the apparent bemusement of the Watford left-back and the home dugout.
"My view was amazing but I don't like to talk about the referees. It is football," said Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores.
"It is difficult," said Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino. "From my point of view, it was an 'orange' or red - but more than yellow."
Ighalo v Kane
Apart from a meeting between two of the league's form teams, the match at Vicarage Road also saw strikers Ighalo and Harry Kane on the same pitch.
Ighalo showed strength and determination in scoring a goal that took him to 14 for the season and 30 in 2015.
Chances were infrequent for Kane and the closest he came was when a brave near-post header went wide.
He was more of a presence than his opposite number, though, was involved in more of the build-up play and also helped out defensively.
Man of the match - Son Heung-Min
What they said:
Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores: "I feel sorry because we had possibility to draw and it was painful how we lost the match.
"But I am really proud of my players. They fight a lot, have an amazing soul. The line between winning and losing is very small."
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on whether Spurs can win the title: "In football a lot can happen. The most important thing is we believe - we have a strong squad to squad to fight for it."
He added: "The victory is very important for us, we worked hard to try and win and are happy because Watford are a difficult team and beat Liverpool recently.
"The condition of the pitch made it difficult to play how we usually play but we showed great maturity. We need to feel proud for the players. It was a great effort after only playing 48 hours ago."
The stats you need to know
- Spurs have lost just one of their past 18 Premier League matches, winning nine
- Watford scored with their only shot on target against Tottenham
- Odion Ighalo has scored more league goals in 2015 than any other player in England's top four tiers (30)
- Erik Lamela has scored four goals in his past five games in all competitions for Tottenham
Watford have another testing game at home when they welcome Manchester City to Vicarage Road on 2 January, while Tottenham face a trip to Everton a day later.
- 3BritosBooked at 52minsSubstituted forPrödlat 60'minutes
- 16AkéBooked at 63mins
- 22AbdiSubstituted forBehramiat 45'minutes
- 7JuradoBooked at 58minsSubstituted forNyomat 68'minutes
- 24IghaloBooked at 65mins
- 9DeeneyBooked at 64mins
- 4AlderweireldBooked at 81mins
- 28CarrollSubstituted forSon Heung-Minat 68'minutes
- 19DembéléSubstituted forEriksenat 45'minutes
- 20AlliBooked at 6minsSubstituted forChadliat 81'minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- Anthony Taylor
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.
Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Valon Behrami (Watford).
Foul by Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur).
Nyom (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Watford 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kieran Trippier with a cross.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Kieran Trippier.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Danny Rose.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.
Foul by Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Odion Ighalo (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Watson with a cross.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Harry Kane.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Nacer Chadli replaces Dele Alli.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.