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Match Report: Saracens 21 Racing 92 9

Match Report: Saracens 21 Racing 92 9

Owen Farrell kicked Saracens to victory as they ended their wait for European Champions Cup glory with a hard-fought 21-9 win in the final over Racing 92.

Mark McCall’s side – runners-up in 2014 and semi-finalists in all of the last four years – have had to wait for their moment of glory but in Lyon on Saturday they were too strong for their French opponents.

Farrell slotted seven penalties for the Aviva Premiership Rugby side who have become the first English champions of Europe since Wasps in 2007.

Racing – for whom Johannes Goosen kicked three penalties – were left to rue what might have been as their influential half-back pairing of Maxime Machenaud and Dan Carter both succumbed to injury.

There were no tries on the day but Saracens will not care one jot and, in truth, it was they who coped much better with the wet conditions at the Grand Stade de Lyon.

They have also become the first ever team to win every game in a European top-flight campaign. 

Both sides came into the final without having ever won Europe's top competition and a few nerves were clearly present in the opening skirmishes.

Machenaud – so impressive in Racing’s semi-final win over Leicester Tigers – was kicking goals instead of Carter who was not at 100 percent.

But the scrum-half wasted the first chance for points when he tugged a penalty wide after Mako Vunipola was pinged at scrum time.

Farrell – whose kicking from hand was Sarries’ chief attacking weapon throughout – showed the French side how to do it when he knocked one over from near the touchline for a 3-0 lead.

The heavens opened not long after and the slippery conditions brought handling errors – more from Racing than Saracens – but the French side did fight back and Goosen’s long-range kick levelled up proceedings in the 18th minute.

But the French side’s cause was not helped by losing Machenaud to a head injury – Mike Phillips coming on in his place – and Sarries built a lead.

Farrell – who had earlier pulled a drop goal attempt wide – kicked a penalty when Eddy Ben Arous didn’t roll away and he added his third of the half soon after for a 9-3 lead.

Carter had not got the Racing backline firing yet but before the break the French pack got a roll on into the Sarries 22 and Goosen trimmed the lead back to 9-6.

But there was still time before the break for Farrell to kick his fourth penalty, this one from near the halfway line, and make it 12-6 at the turnaround.

With Machenaud already off, Racing’s chances were harmed further by losing Carter early on in the second half – Remi Tales replacing the World Cup winner at fly-half.

And when Dimitri Szarzewski went in at the side and Farrell added his fifth penalty Mark McCall’s side had opened a healthy lead at 15-6.

Racing had struggled for any real possession or territory in the third quarter but as the hour mark approached they finally built some sustained pressure.

And although Saracens stopped the driving maul – Nigel Owens was playing advantage and Goosen trimmed the lead back to 15-9.

Racing were pushing admirably as the game entered the final ten minutes but one big rolling lineout maul from Saracens earned a penalty and Farrell was never going to miss.

The dead-eyed fly-half bisected the posts with ease and Sarries had a nine-point lead with only four minutes to play.

And there was still time for Farrell to slot his seventh penalty of the final in the closing seconds to spark huge celebrations. 

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