A first Tottenham goal for Erik Lamela and a record-breaking penalty from Jermain Defoe secured safe passage into the knockout rounds of the Europa League for Andre Villas-Boas' side as they finally broke down a spirited Sheriff Tiraspol side to win 2-1.
Lamela put in one of his most assured performances in a Tottenham shirt and topped it off by tucking away the first goal of the game 15 minutes into the second half, before being tripped inside the box moments later to give Defoe a chance to make history from 12 yards.
The England striker converted the penalty to claim his 23rd European goal for the club, one more than Martin Chivers managed during his time at White Hart Lane. For all of their defensive work Sheriff threatened twice in the first half before Ismail Isa grabbed a goal on 72 minutes to keep Tottenham on their toes.
But Spurs held on for their fourth win in four Group K matches and confirmed their place in the final-32 with two games remaining.
A goal by Karlen Mkrtchyan in the fourth minute of injury time steered Anzhi Makhachkala to the brink of joining Spurs as they claimed a priceless 1-0 victory at Tromso.
Swansea were again pegged back by a late Kuban Krasnodar goal as Ibrahima Balde's stoppage time equaliser secured the hosts a 1-1 draw in Russia.
Wilfried Bony had put the Swans ahead in the ninth minute and they looked set to move to the brink of a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League when their hosts had defender Xandao sent off with 15 minutes remaining.
But, as had happened when Djibril Cisse struck a stoppage time penalty in Swansea two weeks ago, they could not claim all three points as Balde just beat Michel Vorm to a lofted pass and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to make the final score 1-1.
Valencia climbed to the top of Group A after edging ten-man St Gallen 3-2 at the AFG Arena. The Spaniards trailed 2-1 after 66 minutes before late goals from substitute Pablo Piatti and Sergio Canales earned them the win.
Wigan suffered the first defeat of their maiden European campaign as Oleg Kuzmin's strike steered Rubin Kazan to a 1-0 victory in Russia.
What ultimately proved to be the decisive moment of the Europa League Group D match at the Central Stadium - which has the Kazan Kremlin as a dramatic backdrop - came in the 22nd minute when Kuzmin latched on to a lofted ball into the area and cracked it home.
A first-half penalty from Thorgan Hazard earned Zulte Waregem a 1-0 win away to Slovenian side Maribor. The win moved the Belgian side up to third in Group D, a point behind Wigan.
Brazilian striker Juninho Quixada fired a 47th-minute goal as Bulgarian side Ludogorets did enough to seal their qualification for the knockout stages from Group B by drawing 1-1 with Chornomorets in Sofia.
PSV Eindhoven strengthened their hold on second place in Group B with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night Adam Maher and Ola Toivonen scored the goals, both created by Luciano Narsingh, either side of half-time.
The margin of victory could have been far greater, with PSV hitting a post and the crossbar in the closing stages, but the three points were all important following their relatively slow start to the group.
Esbjerg qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League thanks to a 1-0 win over Elfsborg.
Mick van Buren scored the only goal of the game in the 71st minute to give Esbjerg an eight-point cushion over their Scandinavian rivals in third with just two matches remaining. It was a deserved win for Esbjerg who will now battle leaders Salzburg for top spot in Group C.
Salzburg currently occupy top spot after maintaining their 100 percent record in Group C. They claimed a 3-1 win over Standard Liege which confirmed their place in the last 32.
Dnipro booked their place in the knockout stage with a routine 2-0 win at home to Pacos Ferreira. Goals from Matheus and Yevhen Konoplyanka in either half were enough to secure a win which leaves the Ukraininan side three points behind Group E leaders Fiorentina, who struck twice late to beat Pandurii Targu-Jiu 2-1.
Nuno Morais' second half goal lifted Apoel Nicosia off the bottom of Group F and above Bordeaux following a 2-1 victory in a stormy encounter which saw both teams finish the match with ten men.
Elsewhere in the group, Maccabi Tel Aviv cut the gap on Group F leaders Eintracht Frankfurt to two points after ending the German side's perfect record with a 4-2 win, although the Israeli champions had to survive a second-half scare.
Sevilla spurned the chance to secure their place in the last 32 of the Europa League after being held 1-1 at home by Slovan Liberec in a game they dominated, while Freiburg had two players sent off in Estoril as both sides saw their hopes of progression in the Europa League fade in a dire goalless draw in Portugal.
Lazio moved a step closer to a place in the knockout stage with a 2-1 triumph over Apollon Limassol on Thursday evening in Rome.
Sergio Floccari put the Italians ahead in the 14th minute and the veteran striker scored his second on 37 minutes. Fotis Papoulis reduced the deficit before half-time but the visitors could not find the equaliser despite having numerous chances.
The result has lifted Lazio to second in Group J, two points adrift of leaders Trabzonspor, who won 2-0 at Legia Warsaw in the other pool game.
Genk saw their lead at the top of Group G cut to a point after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Rapid Vienna. Kara Mbodj opened the scoring for Genk from the penalty spot in the 29th minute before Rapid levelled through Terrence Boyd's header five minutes before the break.
Boyd was on target again in first-half stoppage time as Rapid pulled ahead, but Genk clawed their way back with Thomas Buffel's equaliser on the hour mark to salvage a draw.
Dynamo Kyiv's 2-0 away win over Thun, despite being reduced to 10 men, saw them move to seven points in the group standings to consolidate their grip on second place, now one point behind Genk following their slip-up in Austria.
A stunning goal from Andrej Kramaric kept Rijeka in the hunt for a place in the last-32 following a 1-1 draw against Lyon.
Alassane Plea had put the French side ahead but Kramaric's long-distance strike ensured that the points would be shared. Rijeka sit at the bottom of Group I on just two points but that is only four behind their French opponents who occupy the second qualifying spot.
Elsewhere in the group, a late goal from Chuli put Real Betis in control as they claimed a 1-0 win over Guimaraes in Portugal. The two sides had been playing out a thouroughly uninspiring encounter but the 22-year-old struck in time-added-on to send the Spaniards top.
Hen Ezra came the closest to breaking the deadlock in a bad-tempered Group L match between Maccabi Haifa and PAOK in Israel which saw six players booked as the score finished 0-0.
That result saw AZ Alkmaar all but guarantee their place in the last-32 as Celso Ortiz's second-half goal secured a 1-0 win over a lacklustre Shakhter Karagandy that moved them six points clear of third-placed Maccabi Haifa with two games in Group L remaining.