Clermont stung by Racing fightback

By Peter Hanson 8 April 2019 7
Clermont stung by Racing fightback

Maxime Machenaud nailed a late penalty as Clermont Auvergne failed to capitalise on Toulouse's rare slip-up after being pegged back in a 31-31 Top 14 draw by Racing 92 on Sunday.

Leaders Toulouse lost a top-flight fixture for the first time since September at Toulon a day earlier, which left the door ajar for second-placed Clermont to close the gap.

Such an eventuality appeared a distinct possibility as tries from Wesley Fofana, Apisai Naqalevu, Remy Grosso and John Ulugia helped the home side to a 25-13 lead.

An Olivier Klemenczak try on the stroke of half-time got Racing back into the contest, but a pair of Morgan Parra penalties sandwiched a Machenaud three-pointer to seemingly leave Clermont in the driving seat.

However, a penalty-try with 10 minutes remaining, which also saw Damien Chouly sin-binned, brought Racing within striking distance and Machenaud kept his cool with a 78th-minute penalty to earn the visitors a draw.

Earlier in the day, Lyon climbed to third after holding off a Pau fightback in a 27-24 win.

Tries from Hendrik Roodt, Thibaut Regard and Toby Arnold put Lyon into a comfortable lead, but Lucas Rey's five-pointer reduced the arrears.

Yellow cards for Clement Ric and Mickael Ivaldi hindered Lyon's cause, but Jean-Marc Doussain's penalty gave them breathing space and proved particularly crucial when Thomas Domingo crossed with four minutes to play.

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Peter Hanson