Challenge Cup: Lyon comeback stuns Glasgow Warriors in exciting quarter-final clash

Colin Newboult

Davit Niniashvili touched down twice as Lyon came from 27-13 behind to beat Glasgow Warriors 35-27 and reach the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

The Scottish outfit were excellent in the opening period, initially going 13-6 ahead through Josh McKay’s try and two Ross Thompson penalties.

Although Baptiste Couilloud levelled matters – adding to Leo Berdeu’s earlier brace of three-pointers – Glasgow immediately responded with Cole Forbes handing them a 20-13 advantage at the break.

That became a 14-point buffer when the Warriors were awarded a penalty try, but they were unable to hold onto the lead as Lyon increased the intensity.

The Frenchmen reduced the deficit through Romain Taofifenua before Niniashvili got the first of his two tries.

Berdeu missed the conversion to equalise but the fly-half was on target in the 71st minute to take them ahead and the hosts completed the victory through Niniashvili.

Lyon will take on Wasps, who defeated Edinburgh 34-30 in the day’s first European encounter, in the Challenge Cup last-four.

Click here for teams and scorers

Glasgow scored the first try when McKay hacked the ball forward from just outside his 22 and Ali Price got a toe on the ball ahead of Toby Arnold which allowed the wing to gather and score.

Thompson added the extras before Berdeu knocked over his second penalty to make it 7-6 to the visitors.

Glasgow’s backline were beginning to find holes in the Lyon defence, which forced the French club to concede numerous penalties, with Thompson knocking over two to extend the Warriors’ lead.

It took some sharp thinking from Couilloud for Lyon to breach Glasgow’s defence. The Warriors were penalised five metres from their own try line, but instead of taking the easy option of three points Couilloud caught the visitors napping by taking a quickly taken penalty to score his 13th try of the season.

The Scottish club responded on the stroke of half-time with some tremendous passing from Thompson before McKay put Forbes over for a try at the far left-hand corner. Thompson added the extras to give Glasgow a 20-13 lead at the interval.

The visitors turned down two kickable penalties and their bravery got rewarded as they were awarded a penalty try due to Lyon illegally sacking their driving lineout, with outside-half Berdeu sin-binned for his part in collapsing the drive.

But it proved to be Glasgow’s last points of the game. Their numerical advantage only lasted two minutes with prop Jamie Bhatti sent to the sin bin for almost the exact same action as Berdeu.

And Lyon made them pay when giant France lock Taofifenua powered over from short range with Doussain converting.

The momentum had swung in Lyon’s favour, and they cut Glasgow’s lead to a mere two points when Josua Tuisova and Pierre-Louis Barassi combined to release teenage wing Niniashvili who ran in from 45 metres out.

Berdeu kicked Lyon into the lead with 10 minutes remaining, with their pack beginning to dominate Glasgow physically.

And the hosts put the result beyond doubt with a lovely chip over the top from Doussain which was gathered by Niniashvili to score.

READ MORE: Wasps edge past Edinburgh in quarter-final thriller