Three penalties from Camille Lopez helped Clermont book their place in the Champions Cup knockouts after they beat Bordeaux-Bègles 9-6.
The match started with early yellow cards for Clermont’s Isaia Toeava and Viktor Kolelishvili as indiscipline on a poor playing surface defined the opening exchanges.
Two penalties apiece from Ian Madigan and Lopez saw the sides into the half-time interval level at 6-6.
Lopez slotted the decisive score on the hour mark to secure victory in an attritional affair that secures a safe passage for Clermont through to the quarter finals while Bordeaux remain second but very much under pressure with Ulster right on their tail.
The visitors showed poor discipline in the opening stages of the match. Both Toeava and Kolelishvili were sent to the sin-bin by Nigel Owens before the 12th minute.
Madigan opened the scoring for Bordeaux in the 13th minute with the penalty which had resulted from Kolelishvili’s infringement.
Despite being down to 13-men, the 2015 finalists struck back. Lopez scored a brace of penalties in the 14th and 36th minute to nudge Clermont into a 6-3 lead.
Madigan responded with a penalty for the hosts in the 39th minute to make the half-time score 6-6.
Lopez gave Clermont the lead with a penalty in the 59th minute to make the score 9-6 heading into the final quarter of the match.
Cyril Cazeaux was sent to the sin-bin in the final minute of the match as the game faded away and finished with a narrow victory for Clermont.
Pens: Madigan 2
Yellow Card: Cazeaux
Pens: Lopez 3
Yellow Cards: Toeava, Kolelishvili
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Joe Wakacegu, 11 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Loann Goujon, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Sébastien Taofifenua
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Steven Kitshoff, 19 Berend Botha, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Blair Connor, 23 Geoffrey Cros
Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Benson Stanley, 23 Scott Spedding
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wales)