Clermont added to their unbeaten home run this season with a 31-15 win over Racing-Métro at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin on Wednesday.
It was the fourth time that the strong duo had gone toe-to-toe in 2010/11 and the result has ultimately leveled them at two apiece in a decent clash.
Those three fixtures that had proceeded this obviously had some left-overs too as there was needle from the outset, notably at scrum-half where Morgan Parra and Jerome Fillol came to blows on a couple of occasions which could land the latter in trouble with the citing commissioner.
International number nine Parra got to his feet on three minutes with an eye problem that was immediately visible while Fillol had a bloody mouth. Chirping between the pair did not end there though as Fillol later got stuck into his rival at ruck-time and was duly sent to the sin-bin.
That yellow card came in between two penalty shots from Parra but upon Fillol's return, Clermont clicked into another gear from a Benjamin Noirot error. The hooker saw his overthrow stolen and from there the hosts went wide to captain Aurelien Rougerie, who drifted outside his man before popping to winger Julien Malzieu who had his centre Gonzalo Canale on hand to finish well. Clermont were eleven points to the good and looking a sure thing to extend their fine home record.
However, the Parisians had other ideas and swiftly set about cutting down that lead. First it was Francois Steyn sending over a long-ranger as Sione Lauaki was hobbling from the field with what looked like a hamstring problem. Then winger Mirco Bergamasco knocked over another three points before number ten Juan Martin Hernandez added one of his customary drop-goals, which was how the scoreline stayed until the half-time break.
Argentina's ace was on hand on 44 minutes to do the same for his side but their lead did not last long as obstruction from the restart saw Parra step up. A Bergamasco effort gave the game a see-saw feel but from 58 minutes, Clermont never looked back as further tries from Vincent Debaty and Alexandre Lapandry saw them move up to second in the Top 14.
Tries: Canale, Debaty, Lapandry
Pen: Parra 4
For Racing-Métro 92:
Pen: Steyn, Bergamasco 2
Drop: Hernandez 2