Dele Alli enjoyed a happy homecoming as he helped inspire Tottenham Hotspur into the last of the Carabao Cup with a penalty shootout win over Watford at Stadium MK.
Alli was born and brought up in Milton Keynes, and began his career with the Dons as an 11-year-old.
He quickly rose through the youth ranks and made his senior debut for the club as a 16-year-old, before making a big money move to Spurs.
Alli, who was one of the star turns as England reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia, returned to his old stomping ground as Spurs were forced to play their home game in Milton Keynes.
That was due to the fact their renovated White Hart Lane stadium is not yet finished, and their temporary home of Wembley was unavailable following Anthony Joshua’s world title fight there on Saturday night.
In the game, played 50 miles north of Spurs’ home, Isaac Success put Watford ahead early in the second half before Christian Kabasele was sent off for fouling Alli, who scored the resulting penalty to make it 1-1 after 82 minutes.
Just four minutes later, Erik Lamela chipped Heurelho Gomes to put Spurs ahead and that looked to have been enough for Spurs, but Etienne Capoue’s deflected shot in the 89th minute took the action-packed tie to a penalty shootout.
Tottenham’s third choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga saved twice in the shootout before Alli scored the winner as Tottenham won it 4-2. Success and Will Hughes scored for Watford in the shootout but Gazzaniga denied Capoue and teenager Domingos Quina.
Son Heung-min, Lamela and Fernando Llorente confidently converted Tottenham’s opening three penalties before Alli - who, with Harry Kane rested, skippered Spurs on the night - slotted past Gomes.
A crowd of 23,650 turned out at Stadium MK to watch the game, with more than 4,000 making the short trip up the M1 from Watford.