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Sale ended Leicester's unbeaten Aviva Premiership home record with a hard fought 10-3 victory at Welford Road.
Captain and number eight Josh Beaumont scored the winning try in the 62nd minute to earn Sale only their second win at Leicester since 2003.
The try, and Danny Cipriani's conversion, broke the deadlock of a dour match which had been level at 3-3 since the 32nd minute.
Leicester started the match as one of three teams with 100 per cent home records - the other being Saracens and Exeter - but never really found the form which had got them into third place.
If Cipriani had had his kicking boots on Sale, who have now lost only once in eight games, would have won by a bigger margin but the fly-half missed five penalties.
Leicester suffered a blow even before the match kicked off with hooker Tom Youngs, who was omitted from the England squad, picking up an injury during the warm-up on his return from a one-game ban.
He was replaced by Leonardo Ghiraldini, with Harry Thacker taking his place on the bench.
They also lost full-back Tommy Bell with an injury after just 23 minutes and the full-back was replaced by Jack Roberts, who was making his sixth Premiership appearance.
The teams were tied at 3-3 at half-time, the score summing up a half in which neither side managed to put together a decent passage of play and entertainment was at a premium for the 22,737 crowd.
Sale fly-half Cipriani, left out of the England squad yet again, missed four penalties out of five in a tricky wind, three of them from close range.
Leicester's first real attack came in the 30th minute from a line-out on the Sale 22. The move was stopped by a knock-on by Cipriani, who was a touch fortunate it was not ruled deliberate and worthy of a yellow card.
It did, however, give Leicester their first chance to put points on the board, with fly-half Freddie Burns slotting the penalty to cancel out Cipriani's effort in the 11th minute. Burns missed one in the 35th minute.
Burns hit a post with a penalty from the left touchline two minutes after the break and then Sale turned defence into attack but wasted a good opportunity when winger Will Addison knocked on in midfield.
Leicester upped the tempo but it was Sale who got the next chance to score, from a 56th-minute penalty, which Cipriani missed from about 30 metres.
Sale broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute after two successive penalties took them to Leicester's line. From a line-out and driving maul, Beaumont barged over and Cipriani added the conversion.
Leicester should have scored minutes later after centre Matt Smith made a searing break but his poor pass failed to find winger Peter Betham, and they then messed up a line-out five metres from Sale's line.