Heineken Cup Pool 5: Leicester Tigers stay alive with win at Montpellier
Last Updated: 16/12/13 5:12pm
Leicester centre Niki Goneva's late try helped the English champions earn a vital away win
A last minute try from Vereniki Goneva and Ryan Lamb's nerveless conversion earned Leicester a potentially crucial 15-14 victory at Montpellier in Heineken Cup Pool 5.
The Tigers' quarter-final hopes were in tatters as the French side led 14-8 with just seconds on the clock, when the ball was shipped out wide and Goneva got in at the corner.
He even had the composure to scramble round close to the posts to give Lamb a much easier kick which takes Leicester to within three points of unbeaten pool leaders Ulster.
Leicester had been beaten on their last six visits to France in this competition, stretching back to 2006.
After the eight-try thriller between the two sides the previous week, the return match was scoreless for 50 minutes until Tom Youngs crossed for the visitors.
Two tries in 10 minutes from outside half Enzo Selponi and wing Lucas Dupont looked to have secured Montpellier the win before the late drama.
Montpellier made 14 changes from the side which went down 41-32 at Welford Road, but they started very brightly with Selponi making a stunning break inside the first minute only to be hauled down before the home side lost the ball.
Both sides struggled to go through the phases in the opening 20 minutes and it was not until Tigers wing Miles Benjamin was shown a yellow card for a block on scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue that the game opened up.
Twice in the following five minutes Montpellier got within five metres of the Tigers' line and wasted the opportunity as Leicester survived the 10 minutes when they were down to 14 men without conceding any points.
The visitors looked to be heading for the game's opening try when they had Montpellier under serious pressure five minutes before half time, but outstanding defensive work from Dupont to snatch the ball from lock Graham Kitchener sent the French racing the length of the field.
They chose to kick two penalties to touch before finally going for the three points but Paillaugue pushed his kick wide to send the game into the break at 0-0.
Leicester came out firing in the second period and quickly managed to get within touching distance of the Montpellier line, before Scott Hamilton lost the ball under pressure from the rush defence.
The visitors thought they had eventually broken the deadlock on 47 minutes when Miles Benjamin went over in the corner after an initial break by Ben Youngs, but the TMO spotted a foot in touch.
It was a missed opportunity for Leicester after they finally created some space out wide but they did not have to wait too long to get the game's opening try on 50 minutes.
Thomas Waldrom made a superb break and found Goneva on his shoulder, he fed Ben Youngs who made a short pass to his brother Tom to crash over.
Flood missed the conversion as he continued to struggle with what looked like a hamstring problem.
Montpellier wasted no time in hitting straight back when two minutes later number eight Alex Tulou picked up from the back of the scrum and set Paillaugue free and he found Selponi to race over.
Paillaugue added the conversion to nudge the home side back in front by two points.
Buoyed by their first try the French side added a second on 62 minutes when Mamuka Gorgodze broke through the middle of a ruck and found Dupont in support to cross close to the posts and Paillaugue once again added the conversion.
Replacement outside half Lamb kicked a long penalty to keep Leicester in touch before Goneva crossed in the 79th minute and Lamb added the extras for the win.