Montpellier's extraordinary season continued on Saturday as they edged Racing-Metro 26-25 in a thrilling contest to reach next week's Top 14 final where they will meet 17-time champions Toulouse.
Racing had come back from a 23-6 deficit early in the second-half to lead 25-23 but a late penalty by Argentinian Martin Bustos Moyano gave Montpellier a place in the final for the first time in their history.
‘It is unbelievable, unbelievable,’ croaked Montpellier joint coach Fabien Galthie.
‘I thought we were beaten,’ added the former France captain, who has defied the odds to turn Montpellier from pre-season relegation favourites to title contenders.
His joint coach Eric Bechu, who coached Galthie as a player at Colomiers, was equally emotional.
‘It's great for the guys. They fought until the end despite several of them suffering from cramp,’ he said.
Racing took an early lead when a Montpellier infringement handed them a penalty which Jonathan Wisniewski converted.
However, Montpellier settled down after an opening 10 minutes spent mostly in their half and levelled the match when Moyano slotted over a penalty in the 13th minute.
Racing regained the upper hand almost immediately as a piercing solo run by Julien Saubade cut deep into enemy territory and though the move came to an end as Montpellier recovered possession, they were reduced to 14 men when Fabien Rofes was sin-binned for a late tackle.
Wisniewski kicked another penalty shortly afterwards, but Galthie's side showing the resilience that has been their trademark this term levelled again as Moyano converted a penalty of his own.
Wisniewski - considered unfortunate not to make Marc Lievremont's squad for the World Cup - then blotted his copybook twice, missing a kickable penalty and then a relatively simple drop goal attempt.
Those misses were ably exploited by Montpellier as they brilliantly counter attacked, after Racing came close to scoring a try, with Aliki Fakate sparking it.
Fakate outfoxed Racing veteran Fijian Sireli Bobo, and released Sylvain Mirande, who ran it in unopposed - the ever reliable Moyano converted to give the underdogs a 13-6 lead.
They extended their lead even further in the opening 10 minutes of the second-half as Santiago Fernandez, set up by Francois Trinh-Duc, crashed over in the right-hand corner and Moyano pulled off a superb conversion. Moyano then added a penalty soon afterwards for a 23-6 lead.
Racing hit back as Benjamin Fall produced a stunning solo break from deep inside his half and after speeding 60 metres with the ball offloaded to Bobo, who went over for the try.
Wisniewski, though, made a lamentable attempt with the conversion leaving Racing trailing by 12 points and it was at that juncture that Racing manager Pierre Berbizier decided to throw on Sebastien Chabal, who had been cleared to play earlier in the week after having a 60-day suspension reduced on appeal.
However, Wisniewski it was who gave Racing hope as he burst through a tackle by Montpellier captain Fulgence Ouedraogo to touch down and converted it for good measure to leave just a five point deficit with 20 minutes remaining.
The momentum had clearly swung behind Racing but Moyano had a good chance to give his side some breathing space with a penalty from within his own half in the 65th minute, but his effort, though on target, fell just short of the posts and into Fall's relieved grasp.
In a thrilling finale it was Racing who looked to have completed a thrilling comeback when Jone Qovu Nailiko just managed to stretch over the line for another try which Wisniewski converted for a 25-23 lead.
However, the impressive Moyano kept his nerve to land a penalty with two minutes remaining to hand them an extraordinary and deserved victory.