Clermont 24-21 Saracens: Late Scott Spedding penalty consigns Saracens to seventh straight defeat
Last Updated: 17/12/17 11:08pm
Scott Spedding's late penalty gave Clermont a 24-21 victory over Saracens in the Champions Cup, consigning the defending champions to their seventh straight loss in all competitions.
Ben Spencer's early try helped Saracens into a 13-0 lead but three-time runners-up Clermont chipped away at the total through the boot of Morgan Parra.
The scrum-half surpassed 500 European points as he landed five kicks to add to Spedding's long-range penalty to make it 18-13, but Alex Lozowski went over for Sarries' second try to put them back in front.
But after Parra levelled the scores, Spedding's last-minute kick sealed the win and left Saracens needing two wins from their final two matches to give themselves a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.
After four minutes, Clermont tighthead prop Rabah Slimani failed to roll away at a ruck to give Owen Farrell the opportunity to put his side ahead. He sent the penalty between the uprights for a 3-0 lead.
Farrell kicked another penalty to double the advantage, before Saracens' perfect start got even better. Scrum-half Spencer picked the ball up and sold Slimani with a dummy to slice through the defence.
He stepped off his left foot and managed to ride the tackle of David Strettle to score, and Farrell converted to take his side 13 points clear after 10 minutes.
Parra narrowed the gap to seven points with a pair of penalties of his own before last week's Saracens' tormentor Alivereti Raka limped off injured after a breathless period of play.
But Clermont received a boost when Will Skelton was yellow carded for a high tackle allowing Parra to make it 13-9.
Marcelo Bosch missed the chance to take Sarries a converted try clear but Spedding made no mistake on the stroke of half-time to ensure Clermont only had a one-point deficit to overturn in the second period.
The hosts were ahead seven minutes into the second half when Parra surpassed the 500-point mark in European competition after Farrell strayed offside.
Parra made it six penalties from seven attempts after a heavy forward drive to move Clermont into a 18-13 lead.
Farrell maintained his 100-per-cent record to cut the deficit to two points before Nick Abendanon was shown yellow for taking a man out in the air at the restart.
The defending champions made Clermont pay when Sean Maitland's mazy run piled on the pressure deep in the home 22, before the ball was worked wide again for Lozowski to touch down.
But Juan Figallo failed to roll away at a ruck to earn a yellow card and allow Parra to level the scores.
And with the match on the line, Clermont earned a scrum penalty, which Spedding converted from long range.