Tottenham suffered a potentially disastrous blow to their plans on New Year’s Day as Harry Kane limped off with an apparent hamstring injury during their 1-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton.
With around a quarter of an hour to play at St Mary’s and Jose Mourinho’s side trailing, Kane side-footed a tidy finish in for what looked like the equaliser – but the linesman had his flag immediately up for offside.
Kane felt his left hamstring straight away, and was promptly replaced by Erik Lamela.
The England captain had limped down the tunnel by the time a VAR check confirmed the offside call.
Tanguy Ndombele had already been taken off injured, replaced by Giovani Lo Celso after 25 minutes.
"Harry Kane plays every minute, he plays all the time," Mourinho said after the game. "It might be big, it might be small. For sure he will be out.
"Tanguy Ndombele, I don't know. I imagine this is the tenth injury of the season.
"They stop him playing. It doesn't give him continuity. We had three days between matches. Once more, he is out again."
Spurs found themselves behind to an excellent goal from the red-hot Danny Ings.
The former Liverpool forward had notched his 13th league goal of the season in some style in the first half, flicking the ball over Toby Alderweireld before finishing smoothly at the near post.
Kane, with 11 league goals to his name, had scored in each of Spurs’ previous two Premier League outings but had his momentum halted by his injury.
As the packed winter schedule continues, Spurs may now be without their key forward for Sunday's trip to in-form Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup – a blow with Mourinho targeting silverware in his first season in charge.
Tottenham then have three league games in January, against Liverpool, Watford and Norwich, before starting February with a trip to Manchester City.
While the severity of the injury was not clear as Kane hobbled off, Spurs may well have one eye on their Champions League last-16 tie with RB Leipzig in late February.
More immediately, Spurs’ league form is of more concern to Mourinho with his side looking some way off their fluent best in recent matches.
With fourth-placed Chelsea held to a one-all draw at Brighton earlier in the day courtesy of a stunning goal from Alireza Jahanbahksh, Spurs’ trip to relegation-threatened Southampton presented an opportunity to close the gap on the Champions League places.
Instead, the gap to Chelsea was extended from five points to six, with Manchester United also being given the chance to pull away with their trip to Arsenal on Wednesday evening.