Match Report: ASM Clermont Auvergne 32-27 Harlequins
A spirited final 20 minutes wasn’t enough for Harlequins as they were put away 32-27 by a robust ASM Clermont Auvergne side in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.
The French outfit had been up by 24 at one point thanks to tries from Fritz Lee and Damian Penaud, as well as some sublime kicking by Morgan Parra and Camille Lopez.
Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw, James Lang and Alex Dombrant all crossed to give the Gallagher Premiership side hope – but they just fell short.
After a tight opening ten, it took a bit of magic from Lopez to break the deadlock as the No.10 secured the first three points of the game with a drop-goal before Marcus Smith slotted home from the tee.
But Lopez was on hand to extend Clermont’s lead again with another sublime drop-goal before Parra dispatched a long-range penalty with ease to give the French side some momentum.
A swift clear-out from a breakdown allowed Lee to power through two Quins defenders and cross before Penaud had his moment.
The 22-year-old beat Brown in a footrace on his second time of asking after two brilliant grubber kicks set himself up for the score.
But Brown gave his side a lifeline minutes later after a brilliant setup from Smith allowed him to dive over in the corner just before half time.
Parra converted another penalty with the last kick of the half as his side went in with an 18-point lead – before notching six more just after the break.
Quins looked to have got themselves back in it after Jamie Chisholm dotted down, but Jack Clifford was ruled to have a foot on the line when offloading brilliantly to his winger.
But skipper Robshaw burrowed over on the hour and Lang took advantage of a brilliant Smith grubber kick to bring them within ten points of a stunned home side before Dombrandt scored with seconds left.