Leicester Tigers completed an impressive second-half comeback to win 32-30 against Sale Sharks in Salford.
Sale took the lead at half-time with three tries courtesy of Chris Cusiter, Will Addison and Nathan Hines and two penalties from Danny Cipriani.
Their visitors were not too far behind them however, with tries from Tigers’ Seremaia Bai and Matthew Tait and a penalty from Freddie Burns, leaving them trailing only 25-15 at half time.
A try for Sam Tuitupou in the second half for Sale was not enough to secure the victory for the home side, who lost the game in heartbreaking fashion.
Tries for Miles Benjamin and Julian Salvi and a penalty for Owen Williams, who took over the kicking duties from Burns, snatched the 30-32 victory for Leicester.
Sale were the first to get points on the board when a Leicester mistake from the kick off put the home side in a dominant position and Cusiter was able to squeeze over the line in only the fourth minute of the game.
However the Tigers were quick in their response when they showed great patience at the Sharks line and after some pressure, Bai found his way through.
A disallowed try for Sale was quickly followed by a successful penalty by Cipriani to put them in the lead.
Despite trailing, the visitors were next to score and after nearly going over just moments before, Tait was finally awarded with the try to put his side ahead. But there was an instant reply for Sale when Addison crashed over the line and they took the reins back from the Tigers.
Penalties followed for both Cipriani and Burns but a yellow card shown to Leicester’s Jamie Gibson just a minute from half time left his side in a vulnerable position.
Sale took full advantage of this and Hines found his way over on the hooter, scoring his first try for the club and giving his team a 25-15 lead at half-time.
The Sharks gave themselves a healthier lead in the opening minutes of the second half when the home side ran rings around the Tigers’ defence and opened up a massive for Tuitupou to sneak his way through.
However, the visitors started to fight back when Benjamin found his way over in the corner and they started to close the gap on their rivals.
Williams’ penalty brought them to within five points of Sale and made for a tense final few minutes in which Sharks try scorer Addison was sent to the sin-bin.
Leicester took full advantage of the extra man and broke the hearts of every Sharks fans when Salvi forced his way over in the 78th minute and Williams’ successful conversion stole the 30-32 victory.
Tries: Cusiter, Addison, Hines, Tuitupou
Cons: Cipriani 2
Pens: Cipriani 2
Yellow Card: Addison
Tries: Bai, Tait, Benjamin, Salvi
Cons: Burns 2, Williams
Pens: Burns, Williams
Yellow Card: Gibson
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Dan Braid (c), 7 David Seymour, 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Ross Harrison, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings.
Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Mathew Tait, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Seremaia Bai.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (91st Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell and Peter Huckle
TMO: David Grashoff