Racing 92 clutched victory from the jaws of defeat, after coming from six points down to Clermont Auvergne in the final minutes of extra-time to win the game by a point, and reach the final of the Top 14 for the first time since 1990.
Racing took the game to Clermont from the off, and quickly took a 16-3 before the half-hour mark in Roazhon Park in Rennes. Three Dan Carter penalties and a try from centre Johan Goosen, which Carter converted, after Camille Lopez dropped a goal in the opening salvo.
Morgan Parra kicked a penalty before Clermont got themselves back into the game just before the break. A maul five meters out gave Fritz Lee the opportunity to touch down at the back of the scrum. Parra missed the conversion as Racing went in at half-time leading 16-11.
Two quick penalties from Lopez put Clermont in front just after the break. That lead didn’t last very long though, as just a minute later a fine run from winger Joe Rokocoko ended up with the New Zealand International touching down in the corner.
Goosen, Lopez and Carter then traded penalties as Racing had a seven point advantage heading into the final twenty minutes.
Then Clermont’s centre partnership of Aurelien Rougerie and Wesley Fofana combined beautifully for Fofana to barge his way over the line. Lopez was successful with the conversion, and the sides were level.
Both sides had penalty attempts to win the contest, but Goosen and Brook James both missed. So the game petered out, as extra-time loomed.
Scott Spedding kicked Clermont in front, before a huge drop goal from Brook James, from almost the half-way line, gave them what looked like an unassailable lead.
But the game changed just before half-time in extra-time when substitute flanker Viktor Kolelishvili got himself yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.
With just moments left in the game, Racing’s Juandre Kruger intercepted the ball and sent Juan Imhoff in to score a remarkable try.
Up stepped that man Carter to calmly slot over the conversion and send Racing into next week’s Top 14 final. They will face either Toulon or Montpelier in the final.