Leicester kept their hopes of Heineken Cup qualification alive with a vital win over Treviso at the Stadio di Monigo – with the winning try coming two minutes from time.
Six days after securing a bonus-point win against the same opposition at Welford Road, the Tigers looked to be on their way out of Europe against a brave Treviso side. However, a penalty try in the dying embers of the second half means Richard Cockerill's men will live to fight another day.
Alberto di Bernardo kicked everything that came his way for Treviso, who also managed a penalty try of their own. Adam Thompstone scored a try for the visitors and George Ford bagged two conversions.
Leicester made light of difficult conditions and with just 14 minutes played had scored one of the tries of the season. Thompstone was the eventual beneficiary, after a wonderful flowing attack started by Ben Youngs 10 metres from his own line cut the Treviso rearguard to ribbons. Ford angled home the conversion and for a spell it looked like Treviso were about to go into meltdown.
Prop forward Michele Rizzo was yellow-carded for stamping and Leicester went for the kill. Some poor decision-making, however, ensured that Treviso saw out the remaining 10 minutes without conceding.
And then, restored to full strength, they hit back courtesy of a penalty try awarded after Tigers had sacked a well-organised maul. Di Bernardo converted and then added a penalty, whilst at the other end Ford fired wide from a central position as the half ended with Leicester trailing 10-7.
Treviso continued where they had left off before the turnaround, Di Bernardo despatching another penalty to extend their advantage. It seemed, however, as though the pendulum would once again swing when Christian Loamanu was sin-binned midway through the half. Accordingly, the Tigers went for the throat, and with the last throw of the dice forced a penalty try after Treviso collapsed a series of scrums on their own line. Ford converted, and Tigers had got out of jail.
Scorers – Treviso: pen try; A di Bernardo con, 2 pens. Leicester: A Thompstone try; pen try; G Ford 2 cons
Treviso: L McLean (K Burton 51); L Nitoglia, C Loamanu, A Sgarbi, T Iannone (M Muccignat 20); A di Bernardo (F Sbaraglini 78), E Gori (F Semenzato 40); M Rizzo (I Fernandez-Rouyet 73), L Ghiraldini (M Muccignat 78), L Cittadini (K Burton 78), F Minto, C van Zyl (V Bernabo 78), A Zanni, D Budd (S Favaro 55), M Vosawai (P Derbyshire 55)
Leicester: M Tait; N Morris, M Tuilagi, A Allen, A Thompstone (G Murphy 46); G Ford, B Youngs; M Ayerza (L Mulipola 59), T Youngs, D Cole (M Castrogiovanni 59), L Deacon, G Parling, B Deacon, J Salvi, T Waldrom (J Crane 23)
Referee: A Rolland (Ireland)