Clermont Auvergne confirmed their European Rugby Challenge Cup credentials with a strong performance to defeat Bordeaux-Begles at Stade Jacques-Chaban-Delmas on Friday.
The 28-10 victory saw Clermont, beaten finalists last season, leap-frog Welsh rivals the Ospreys atop Pool 2 while Bordeaux, who had lost at home only once previously this season, a bonus-point defeat by Top 14 leaders Racing 92 in the domestic league, remain last four points adrift of third-placed Exeter Chiefs.
Lionel Beauxis kicked Bordeaux into the lead with a 10th-minute penalty before Nick Abendanon scored the first of three tries for the visitors on the night.
The hosts squared the ledger when Clement Maynardier scored a converted try shortly after the half-hour mark but Clermont went to the sheds with a seven-point advantage - 17-10 - after Camille Lopez touched down for a converted try shortly before half-time.
Man of the match Morgan Parra kicked two more penalties as the visitors extended their buffer to 23-10 before Bordeaux's replacement second-row, Julien Le Devedec, was sent off in the 50th minute, barely 60 seconds after entering the action, for leading with his head.
Le Devedec's red card effectively sealed the home side's fate, and Clermont sealed victory when Jonathan Davies released Noa Nakaitaci to go over in the left corner for the final try of the night.