In a repeat of the 2013 and 2015 finals — both won by Toulon — the rival French powerhouses were locked at 6-6 at half-time, but Clermont finished much the stronger to win 29-9 at Stade Marcel Michelin.
Clermont winger, Noa Nakaitaci, crossed for the game’s first try, in the 60th minute, to give his side some breathing space, before replacement, Penaud, wrapped up the victory at the death.
Scrum-half, Morgan Parra, contributed 16 points to Clermont’s win, with Camille Lopez adding a drop goal. All Toulon’s points came from the boot of full-back, Leigh Halfpenny.
Parra and Halfpenny each sent over two successful kicks during a tight first-half that ended all square, but it was the Frenchman who drew first blood after the restart, slotting home his third penalty of the match, after number eight, Duane Vermeulen, had transgressed at a ruck.
Halfpenny squared it up at 9-9, with a 57th-minute penalty, but Clermont powered their way into the driving seat, when Nakaitaci went over in the corner.
Parra added the conversion to give his side a seven-point advantage, with 19 minutes remaining. Three-time European champions, Toulon, had much to do.
They could not dent Clermont’s advantage, and, instead, found themselves further adrift, when fly-half, Lopez, slotted over a drop goal and Parra added a fourth penalty to his tally.
Penaud then cemented the win, when he raced clear to touch down for a converted try, as Clermont kept alive their hopes of a first Champions Cup title.
Tries: Nakaitaci, Penaud. Cons: Parra 2. Pens: Parra 4. Drop Goals: Lopez.
Pens: Halfpenny 3.
Spedding, Nakaitaci, Rougerie, Lamerat, Abendanon, Lopez, Parra, Chaume, Kayser, Zirakashvili, Iturria, Vahaamahina, Chouly, Yato, Lee.
Penaud for Nakaitaci (72), Falgoux for Chaume (72), Ulugia for Kayser (67), Jarvis for Zirakashvili (64), Van der Merwe for Vahaamahina (73).
Cancoriet, Radosavljevic, Fernandez.
Halfpenny, Mitchell, Bastareaud, Nonu, Habana, Trinh-Duc, Escande, Delboulbes, Guirado, Chilachava, Kruger, Taofifenua, J. Smith, Gill, Vermeulen.
Tuiosva for Mitchell (63), Belleau for Trinh-Duc (68), Tillous-Borde for Escande (55), Fresia for Delboulbes (53), Etrillard for Guirado (71), van der Merwe for Chilachava (56), Fernandez Lobbe for J. Smith (71).
Wayne Barnes (England).