Stalemate in Thomond Park thriller between Munster and Racing

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The Round Two Champions Cup tie between Munster and Racing 92 in Thomond Park finished level 21-21 this evening.

Despite being outplayed for much of the second half, Munster had a brilliant chance to snatch the game in the final moments but JJ Hanrahan’s drop goal went narrowly wide.

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Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Thomond Park, Limerick, 23/11/2019
Munster vs Racing 92
Munster’s Mike Haley with Finn Russell of Racing 92
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Munster were awarded the first kickable penalty of the game in the 8th minute after Racing were penalised in the ruck.

JJ Hanrahan made no mistake from 42 metres to give Munster a 3-0 lead.

Racing’s rapid line speed almost cost them shortly after the restart as Chris Farrell carried from his own 22 well into the Racing half.

However, the move eventually came to nothing as Racing turned over the ball.

Racing moved into the lead on 19 minutes after a moment of brilliance from fly-half Finn Russell saw the Scottish man collect his own grubber kick to dot down underneath the posts.

Last-hour replacement Teddy Ibareen made no mistake from the conversion to push them into a 7-3 lead.

A super individual break from JJ Hanrahan on 21 minutes should have lead to a score but a handling error from Rory Scannell on the wing scuppered the chance.

A forward pass from Simon Zebo on his own 22 lead to a Munster from which they earned a penalty.

Once again Hanrahan stepped up to reduce the deficit with Racing leading 7-6 after 27 minutes.

A minute later Racing would notch their second try after Teddy Thomas collected his own chip and chase down the wing before touching down beneath the posts.

Thibaren was on hand to add the extras to bring Racing’s advantage to 14-6.

Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Thomond Park, Limerick, 23/11/2019
Munster vs Racing 92
Racing 92’s Teddy Thomas on his way to scoring a try
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Antoine Classen of Racing was penalised for holding onto Niall Scannell off the ball just outside his 22.

Munster opted against the three points and kicked to the corner.

After winning the line out cleanly Munster attacked for a number of phases inching towards the line, Tadgh Beirne eventually crossed the whitewash but was held up.

Conor Murray quickly tapped and moved closer to the line again. After a number of quick phases, JJ Hanrahan had a go where he almost touched down, just losing control of the ball forward at the line.

Racing won a penalty from the resultant scrum before clearing their lines.

A knock on from Racing on the Munster 10 metre line, allowed Niall Scannell to hack the ball into the opposition’s half, before he won a penalty with Racing penalised for holding on in the ruck.

Munster went for the line once more and again Scannell proved accurate with the delivery.

Munster quickly made their way into the Racing 22 before working the ball out to Keith Earls on the wing.

From there Earls showed former teammate Zebo a clean pair of heels before diving in for Munster’s first try in the corner.

Hanrahan missed the difficulty conversion with the last play of the game with Racing taking a 14-11 lead into the break.

After the restart, Munster dominated early proceedings, holding all the ball for the first number of minutes.

On 45 minutes, a beautifully worked team move eventually saw Racing penalised at the breakdown once again, giving Hanrahan the chance to bring the sides level at 14-14 to which he duly obliged.

Racing were ahead minutes later as Finn Russell opened up the Munster defence yet again before setting Juan Imhoff free to dot down under the sticks.

Ibaren made it 21-14 with the conversion.

Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Thomond Park, Limerick, 23/11/2019
Munster vs Racing 92
Munster’s Andrew Conway with Simon Zebo of Racing 92
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Munster were given a break on 54 minutes as Ibaren missed a scorable 30 metre penalty.

Racing were nearly in for the fourth try on 59 minutes after intelligent link up play by Thomas and Ibaren down the touchline, But the French winger was unable to collect his chip in behind as Rory Scannell cleaned up the danger.

While Racing looked in control of the game, Munster nearly replied with a try of their own on 68 minutes but Andrew Conway dropped the ball in the tackle, five metres from the line as they held on to their 21-14 advantage.

Munster kept up the pressure and were awarded a penalty in the Racing 22 from which they kicked to touch.

Munster went agonisingly close to the line before Racing were penalised once again.

Munster opted for a scrum and went very close again with the referee giving the men in red an advantage for continued Parisian indiscipline.

With a penalty guaranteed, Hanrahan delivered a phenomenal 20 metre pass out wide to Conway with the winger finishing.

Hanrahan brought the sides level with an exceptional conversion with 76 minutes on the clock.

Munster pressed hard for the winning score and had the ball in the Racing 22 with the time running into the red.

With the Paris defence holding firm, munster opted for a drop at goal but Hanrahan’s 20 metre effort just went wide.

There was one final chance for Racing but a knock on brought the game to an end with the teams taking a share of the spoils in an epic encounter.

Up next for Munster is a Pro 14 clash with Edinburgh before they face the Saracens in a Champions Cup back to back this side of Christmas.

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