Clermont edge Wasps at the death in thriller
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Kotaro Matsushima was the ASM Clermont Auvergne hero as he scored an 82nd minute try to help the French side beat Wasps 27-25 in their last 16 match at the Ricoh Arena.
In a match that look set to go the way of Wasps for most of the second half, flyhalf Camille Lopez kicked the winning conversion to send the three-time finalists into the last eight.
Paolo Odogwu grabbed the opening try for the hosts despite Clermont winning a scrum and clearing away but from the line-out, Michael Le Bourgeois ran over Fritz Lee before releasing Odogwu to sprint clear and down at the posts.
Matteo Minozzi then nearly had another for Wasps as he collected the high ball before beating one, two and three Clermont defenders, chipping over two more and grabbing possession again.
But as he looked sure to score, Kotaro Matsushima just nudged his arm and did enough to force Minozzi to knock on.
Sebastien Bezy then levelled for Clermont after Damian Penaud worked the overlap, before taking the lead when George Moala beat two players and found Peni Ravai who had enough speed to get over and swivelled to dot down.
Wasps ended the first half with a flourish, with the set-piece coming good as Tommy Taylor broke off and linked with Dan Robson who popped inside to Josh Bassett to dive over.
Jacob Umaga then nudged Wasps six ahead with two penalties before the break, before Lopez hit back with one of his own just after the interval.
Lopez grabbed another two penalties either side of a powerful Ben Harris try that looked to send Wasps into the last eight.
But in a dramatic late twist, Star of the Match Matsushima bounced off defenders, picked a gap and dived over to level the scores.
The nerveless Camille Lopez made no mistake from the kicking tee, splitting the uprights and sending Clermont into the Champions Cup quarterfinals.
Tries: Odogwu, Bassett, Harris
Cons: Umaga 2
Pens: Umaga 2
Tries: Bézy, Ravai, Matsushima
Cons: Nanai-Williams, Lopez 2
Pens: Lopez 2
Yellow card: Zach Kibirige (Wasps, 79)
Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Sione Vailanu, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Sam Wolstenholme, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Zach Kibirige.
Clermont: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 George Moala, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez (captain), 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Fischer, 6 Judicaël Cancoriet, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Cristian Ojovan, 2 Adrien Pélissié, 1 Peni Ravai.
Replacements: 16 Etienne Fourcade, 17 Daniel Bibi Biziwu, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Thibaud Lanen, 20 Peceli Yato, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 Peter Betham.
Referee: Franck Murphy
Assistant referee: Anthony Woodthorpe, Simon Harding
TMO: Brian MacNeice