Substitute Salomon Kalou struck a minute from time to give Chelsea a controversial 2-1 win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
The sides looked to be meandering towards a 1-1 draw after Sandro and Frank Lampard had exchanged very different long-range strikes in the first half.
But Chelsea, who dominated possession and enjoyed the better of the chances, finally grabbed their winner when Kalou tapped in following a mis-hit strike from Didier Drogba.
The victory leaves Chelsea just three points behind Manchester United, who face Arsenal on Sunday, before Carlo Ancelotti’s men square up to the league leaders at Old Trafford next weekend.
But the Blues needed two huge slices of luck to squeeze past Tottenham, who are now four points behind fourth-place City, having played a game more and with a far inferior goal difference.
It was Spurs who took the lead in emphatic fashion, with Sandro arching a 30-yard volley into Petr Cech’s top right-hand corner after just 19 minutes.
But with half-time approaching, Chelsea got back on level terms in controversial fashion through Lampard.
The England international took aim from 25 yards but, when his strike flew straight at Heurelho Gomes, it looked like a routine save for the Brazilian.
However, the ball squirmed out of his arms, through his legs, and slowly towards the line.
The goalkeeper appeared to claw the ball clear before it crossed the line, but the linesman ruled that it had in fact gone over, and the referee awarded a goal.
And Chelsea’s winner was no less fortuitous. Kalou, who had replaced Fernando Torres in the 62nd minute, appeared to be in an offside position when he stabbed the ball home from close range a minute from time.
But Chelsea cared little about the controversy and celebrated gleefully at the final whistle as they kept their slim title hopes alive.