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.
FT’ | ASM Clermont v Racing 92 | #ASMR92
Les Racingmen ont été héroïques aujourd’hui et n’ont jamais abdiqué malgré quelques imprécisions !
Résultat très positif pour nos Ciel et Blanc, qui ramènent points de Clermont ! Bravo messieurs
ASM Clermont 31 – 31 Racing 92 pic.twitter.com/9ioI9htstu
— Racing 92 (@racing92) April 7, 2019
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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