Imhoff strikes late as Racing end Saracens dreams of Champions Cup glory

Rugby

Juan Imhoff scored the game’s only try in the dying minutes as France’s Racing 92 came from behind to beat defending champions Saracens 19-15 in their European Champions Cup semifinal on Saturday.

The victory sent Racing, who have never won the title, into their third final at the expense of the three-times champions, and they await the winner of the second Anglo-French semifinal between Exeter Chiefs and Toulouse.

After heading into the break trailing 9-6, Saracens turned up the heat, with Alex Goode scoring three penalties after the restart to give the Premiership club a six-point lead.

Substitute Maxime Machenaud pulled Racing back to within three points with a penalty in the 68th minute before a moment of brilliance from Finn Russell sparked the game’s decisive moment.

Russell found Virimi Vakatawa with a delicate chip over the Saracens midfield and the New Zealand-born centre powered into space before offloading the ball back to the Racing flyhalf, who released Imhoff to cross with three minutes left on the clock.

Machenaud made no mistake with the conversion, shredding Saracens’ dreams of European glory.

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