Racing 92 beat Leicester to set up Saracens Champions Cup final
Last Updated: 25/04/16 11:11am
Racing 92 will face Saracens in the Champions Cup final after the French giants beat Leicester 19-16 in their semi-final clash on Sunday.
Racing's half-back pairing of Maxime Machenaud and Dan Carter ran the show for the visitors with Carter adding 11 points with the boot as he took a step closer to completing the clean sweep of world rugby's premier trophies.
Carter already boasts four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, nine Rugby Championship victories and the 2015 World Cup triumph with New Zealand - but he is in Europe to claim the Champions Cup and French Top 14.
Only Saracens now stand between Carter and part one of that northern hemisphere club trophy hunt, with Racing into their first top-tier European final in Lyon on May 14.
Scrum-half Machenaud claimed Racing's sole try, with Johannes Goosen's long-range penalty added to Carter's haul proving just enough to edge the Frenchmen to the final.
Leicester were guilty of far too many handling errors but wing Telusa Veianu's late try set up a frenetic finish, however Racing were deserved winners as Leicester left the comeback too late.
Racing's heavy-duty pack won all the pivotal collisions, neutering Leicester's strike runners Opeti Fonua and Manu Tuilagi.
However it was winger Joe Rokocoko who set up the first try after a pick and go from the ruck caught Leicester's defence on the hop as he charged for the line. Two phases later, Machenaud burrowed over and his try and Carter's conversion meant that Leicester were chasing the game - with just three minutes on the clock.
Leicester were lucky not go further behind as Goosen missed a long range penalty attempt and Carter fluffed a simple drop-goal attempt as the Paris powerhouses heaped on the pressure. That pressure eventually told when Carter landed another penalty, stretching Racing's lead to 10-0.
Leicester finally troubled the scorers when Burns slotted a penalty, but the Tigers' chief agitator would shortly hobble out of the contest.
His replacement, Owen Williams, slotted a penalty with his first touch but Carter banged over his second penalty, to restore Racing's seven-point advantage at the break.
Leicester came out firing in the second half and Williams narrowed the score after his pack won a penalty with a strong scrum, however Carter clawed back the three points with one of his own to give Racing a 16-9 lead on 50 minutes.
Racing thought they had the match sewn up when Goosen ghosted home after running a lovely line off Rokocoko in the centres - only for the try to be chalked off after video review. Chris Masoe was judged to have passed forward to Machenaud off the base of the scrum, handing Leicester a reprieve.
Goosen did make it 19-9 with a superb long range effort before Leicester hit back in the 79th minute when Veianu went over. Williams converted to cut Racing's lead to three points, but Racing held on to secure their first ever Champions Cup final appearance.