Leicester Tigers snatched a last-gasp win to halt Sale Sharks’ march up the Aviva Premiership Rugby table in front of a record crowd at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Chasing a fifth successive league win, Chris Cusiter got the ball rolling early on for Sale and further tries from Will Addison, Sam Tuitupou and Nathan Hines secured a bonus point.
But Leicester Tigers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat two minutes from time, after Owen Williams converted Julian Salvi’s try.
After initially turning the ball over at the half way line, Sharks’ scrum-half Cusiter eventually finished off a fine flowing move going over in the corner to give the home side a fourth-minute lead.
Seremaia Bai got the visitors on the scoreboard minutes later, going over in the corner after Sale had withstood several phases of forward pressure during Tigers’ first visit to the opposition 22.
The Sharks almost responded immediately but Mike Haley was adjudged to have knocked on when trying to ground Tuitupou’s fine off load.
A Danny Cipriani penalty moved Sale back into the lead midway through the half after Leicester were penalised at the breakdown.
Mathew Tait’s converted try gave the Tigers an unexpected lead for the first time, the TMO confirming the try as Cusiter tried to tackle the winger into touch.
The potent Sale backline again tore through the Leicester defence with Johnny Leota delaying his pass to release Will Addison who raced over for a converted try.
Burns’ penalty levelled the match after Eifion Lewis-Roberts was penalised for a high tackle.
Magnus Lund thought he had scored his side’s third try of an entertaining first half but was penalised for crossing and Burns relived the pressure.
Cipriani restored Sale’s lead however, adding another penalty after Dan Cole was penalised for being on the wrong side.
Addison then made a stunning break from his own half and but for a last ditch Tait tackle Lewis-Roberts would have been in.
Jamie Gibson was then sin-binned as Sharks were pressing for another score before half-time and it did eventually come through Hines. Cipriani added the extras to give Sale a ten-point lead at the interval.
Sale extended their lead just after the restart as Tuitupou smartly picked up and deceived the Tigers defence on the blindside to score an opportunist try after Haley made the initial break.
Midway through the second half Miles Benjamin struck as the momentum shifted back in Leicester’s favour, Tait with the pass for his fellow wing to score the converted try in the corner.
But Sale almost scored against the run of play as Cusiter made a break for the line and when looking for the off-load Tait’s tackle knocked the ball back into the scrum-half’s path but he was unable to race away.
The Leicester replacements gave the visitors the impetus in the last quarter and that pressure led to Williams kicking over a penalty in front of the posts to reduce Sale’s lead to five points.
With just over five minutes remaining Addison was shown a yellow card as Sale conceded another penalty.
The visitors snatched the win with two minutes remaining as Salvi went over after relentless Leicester pressure eventually told and replacement Williams converted to give Tigers a two point win.