Exeter Chiefs’ European adventure did not get the same start as their Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign as they slipped to a 13-20 home loss to Montpellier.
Both sides made changes from their prior league matches, but it was Montpellier – who currently lie third in the Top 14 – who settled first.
An early Dimitri Pelo converted try put the visitors in the driving seat as Exeter struggled to get a hold on the game. Montpellier fly-half Raphael Lagarde kept the scoreboard ticking over to give them a 13-6 half-time lead, the Chiefs' only points coming from the boot of Ryan Davis.
The Chiefs did come close to a try when Josh Matavesi and Phil Dollman combined with the former being bundled into touch by some last-ditch defending from the visitors.
The French high-flyers then showed Exeter how it was done shortly after the interval, Seta Tuilevuka striking with a devastating try to extend the lead up to 20-6.
But the Chiefs showed last week in Northampton that they are never prepared to give up on a match and fought their way back in.
Number eight Richard Baxter saw his first action of the season, and as Montpellier began to flag the Chiefs were able to impose themselves more.
Reward came in the final few minutes thanks to Chad Slade's try, and Davis kept his cool to snatch the losing bonus point.