Phil Taylor staved off a storming fightback from Raymond van Barneveld to triumph 6-4 and book a PDC World Championship final showdown with Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace.
The 15-time world champion appeared to be cruising towards victory when 5-1 in front, only for old adversary Van Barneveld to come storming back and almost force a deciding set.
Taylor eventually crossed the line on double 16 and was then less than forthcoming when Van Barneveld offered his post-match congratulations, prompting a heated exchange on stage.
'The Power' shrugged off the confrontation after the match, telling Sky Sports: "None of us wanted to lose that. Barney came back at me and was brilliant. I said to him backstage 'there's nobody in this room that's a bigger fan of you than I am' so we're not going to fall out over that. It's over. It's done."
Taylor was almost left to regret missing two darts at double top for the match when leading 5-1, but, despite vociferous support for 'Barney' as the match wore on, he held on to set up a mouth-watering showdown with Van Gerwen on New Year's Day.
Leading up to the match, a repeat of the 2007 and 2009 World Championship finals, Barney claimed he no longer feared Taylor, only for his rival to surge into a 2-0 lead to make an immediate statement of his own.
The Dutchman got on the board in the third set only for Taylor to turn on the style in the fourth with classy 141 and 111 finishes.
A 14-darter in set six put Taylor in cruise control, but two missed arrows at tops sparked Barney into life - he won four legs on the trot to threaten a remarkable comeback.
But Taylor, noticeably rattled by his rival's rally and whistling from the crowd, dug deep to cling on and win the fourth and final leg of the 10th set.