Clermont Auvergne will play Saracens in the Champions Cup final after Camille Lopez's pair of drop-goals helped Les Jaunards beat Leinster 27-19 in Lyon on Sunday.
The last-four clash saw Clermont dominate the first period and score tries from Peceli Yato and former England wing David Strettle. But in the second, Leinster came roaring back and four penalties from British and Irish Lion Johnny Sexton put them in with a chance of victory.
The game's crucial moment came when a visiting try for Dan Leavy was ruled out and Clermont moved further clear. Morgan Parra's second penalty of the day and two sublime Lopez drop-goals proved enough in the end, despite Garry Ringrose's sensational late effort, and the French side now have the chance to stop Saracens recording a second consecutive European crown at Murrayfield on May 13.
In front of a boisterous French crowd in Lyon, Clermont started like a train and were 15-0 up in as many minutes. Yato opened the scoring, the flanker racing on to the ball to cross in the right corner.
The excellent Parra converted and added a penalty and with Leinster skipper Isa Nacewa yellow carded for tugging back Strettle as he chased a Scott Spedding kick, it was a nightmare start for the visitors. With the man advantage, Parra's flat pass then found Strettle who sped past Leinster flanker Leavy to add Clermont's second try with Joey Carberry unable to stop him.
Parra's conversion went wide, but the French team were utterly dominant. Leinster's failure to do the basics was letting them down, their line-out was particularly poor and contributed to giving Clermont the field position from which Strettle went over.
Leo Cullen's men were in real trouble, but they did rally and after Parra put a penalty wide, Sexton finally got Leinster on the board with the last kick of the first half. The second period started as the first ended with Sexton adding his second penalty and Leinster were now playing with much more aggression.
The visitors were transformed and with Clermont tiring in the French sun, Ringrose went close to a try following some sustained Irish possession. There was no score, but two more kicks from Sexton meant there were now just three points between the teams.
Leinster then thought they'd got their first try, Fergus McFadden leading a breakout from which Leavy made it to the line to dot down. Nigel Owens sent the score upstairs, and it was ruled out by the TMO for Leavy holding back Aurelien Rougerie at a ruck in the run-up to the score.
Parra kicked the resulting penalty in what was a body blow to the away side and Lopez's drop-goal added salt to Irish wounds. Leinster now had to chase the game and Ringrose gave them a lifeline with a wonder try, stepping in midfield and making his way to the line from halfway.
Sexton converted, but fellow number 10 Lopez had the last laugh with a 72nd-minute penalty and a second drop-goal as the Irishman's fifth penalty of the day late on was rendered meaningless.