Sébastien Chabal condemned Leicester Tigers to a second successive defeat and put a huge dent in their Premiership title hopes by diving over for Sale's match-winning try in the dying moments at Welford Road.
Leicester went into the last 10 minutes trailing 9-6 to Luke McAlister's hat-trick of penalties, but they looked to have snatched victory when Jordan Crane was driven over in the 71st minute. But Chabal, the former France No 8, had the final word in the 79th minute when he went over in the right-hand corner to inflict a second home defeat of the season on Leicester and complete a Guinness Premiership double for Sale.
Both sides were forced to make changes in the absence of their Six Nations players and Leicester were anxious to recover from their 22-13 defeat at London Irish six days earlier that had ended a four-match winning run and denied them the chance to go top of the table.
Andy Goode gave them a decent start by kicking a fifth-minute penalty that was matched three minutes later by McAlister, the All Black centre. Goode missed a further attempt in the 13th minute but put Leicester back in front 12 minutes later.
Tempers reached boiling point in the 27th minute when Chabal and Deacon collided off the ball. Referee Sean Davey surprisingly decided against handing out any yellow cards. He awarded a penalty to Sale and McAlister belted the ball over from 50 metres to level the game at 6-6 after 30 minutes. The classy Kiwi edged his side ahead at the break with a 50-metre penalty with the last kick of the half.
Leicester, who had been under pressure following prolonged Sale possession, went close to a try when Sale scrum-half Sililo Martens had a clearance charged down but he recovered to reclaim the ball on his own try line.
Leicester made no mistake nine minutes from time when Crane, the 21-year-old No 8, was driven over. Goode missed the conversion to leave the home side only 11-9 in front.
Goode had a drop goal ruled out moments later when he looked to put the game beyond Sale but Chabal snatched the glory for the visitors with his late score.
Leicester: S Vesty (J Murphy, 68); A Erinle, D Hipkiss, A Mauger, O Smith; A Goode, F Murphy (C Laussucq, 68); M Ayerza, G Chuter (B Kayser, 60), A Moreno (D Young, 54), M Corry, B Deacon, L Deacon, B Herring, J Crane.
Sale: J Laharrague; M Cueto, C Bell, L McAlister, O Ripol; C Hodgson, S Martens; E Roberts, S Bruno (N Briggs, 76), S Turner, C Fernandez Lobbe (C Jones, 64), B Cockbain (D Schofield, 68), S Cox, J Fernandez Lobbe, S Chabal.
Referee: S Davey (RFU).Reuse content