Top 14: Toulouse set up semi-final against Toulon
Last Updated: 10/05/13 11:00pm
Gael Fickou: on the scoresheet for Toulouse
Toulouse booked their passage into the Top 14 semi-finals where they will face Toulon after defeating Racing-Metro 33-19 on Friday.
The champions will tackle this year's Heineken Cup finalists in two weeks in Nantes after Luke McAlister's 23-point haul led them to the last four.
McAlister opened the scoring in the third minute before Jonathan Wisniewski levelled moments later off the tee on a perfect surface for rugby.
Racing then jumped ahead when lock Patricio Albacete was penalised by referee Jérôme Garces in a high-paced opening to the action.
Toulouse though were beginning to gain the ascendancy and a lovely passage put them back in front when expansive rugby led to veteran Yannick Jauzion hitting a good line off McAlister, before offloading to his centre partner Gael Fickou. McAlister missed the conversion.
By the 23rd minute, Guy Noves' charges were holding 69 per cent of the possession and extended their advantage off the tee via McAlister before the half-hour mark.
However, the Parisians hit back with interest in the 36th minute when the dangerous Sereli Bobo sparked a breakout from halfway. His ability to hold defences with the ball in one hand saw him create space for Masinivanua Matadigo, who dummied and raced over from 30 out.
That was not to be the half-time score though as Jean Marc Doussain's rather deliberate pass into an offside Francois van der Merwe led to McAlister knocking over three points from 35 metres out.
Another penalty success by McAlister just after the resumption pushed Toulouse further in front at 17-11 which soon became 24-11 when Louis Picamoles, who had been a pre-match injury doubt, was supported over the try-line in a well-orchestrated move.
Racing cut the deficit soon after with their second try, scored by centre Henry Chavancy.
McAlister and Wisniewski exchanged penalties as Toulouse went into a 27-19 lead before 33-year-old Jauzion was replaced, the veteran centre leaving to a standing ovation.
Two more penalties from McAlister in front of 30,000 fans put Toulouse in complete control at 33-19 to set-up a mouth-watering semi-final clash against Toulon on May 24. The two sides met in the 2012 final at the Stade de France with Toulouse winning 18-12.