Glasgow 16 Toulouse 22
Glasgow’s Heineken Cup quarter-final hopes were left hanging by a thread as Toulouse shook off an error-strewn first half to win at Firhill.
The three-time European champions looked like being on the wrong end of an upset early on in tonight’s Pool Five clash.
But, despite leading 9-7 at the interval, the Warriors’ intensity dipped, allowing the French giants to score 15 unanswered points early in the second half.
Lome Fa’atau’s late try secured Glasgow a losing bonus point and set up a grandstand finish, but it was not enough.
Toulouse touched down three times through David Skrela, Byron Kelleher and Yannick Jauzion, while Maleli Kunavore scored a drop-goal.
Skrela kicked their other points to make it two wins from two after last week’s dramatic victory over Bath.
Glasgow’s other points came from the boot of Dan Parks, and the Warriors now needing to win all their remaining games to have a realistic chance of making the last eight.
The visitors were forced into one change from the team named in midweek, Kunavore deputising for France centre Florian Fritz.
Tonight was the sides’ third meeting in the competition, Toulouse winning both pool encounters on the way to the last of their three titles in 2004-05.
But it was Glasgow who struck first after a clever lineout led to a sixth-minute penalty in front of the posts.
Parks, back at fly-half after injury, duly converted.
Warriors boss Sean Lineen axed four of his forwards following last week’s defeat at Newport Gwent Dragons and it initially paid off as his new-look pack tore into the visitors.
They were rewarded with a penalty which Parks shanked, but the Scotland star made up for it minutes later with one from halfway.
Toulouse were then forced to change hooker as they continued to disintegrate.
Thom Evans should have punished them further with a try but the fit-again wing dropped the ball under pressure with the line at his mercy.
Then from nowhere, Glasgow fell apart at a scrum and Skrela was afforded the freedom of Firhill to run in under the posts. The fly-half’s conversion gave Toulouse a lead that had barely looked possible.
Only a series of last-gasp tackles prevented try number two before Glasgow edged in front again through another Parks penalty.
Toulouse looked to have shaken off their early stupor, though wing Maxime Medard emulated Evans by spilling a pass yards from an unguarded line shortly before the interval.
The second half was less than three minutes old when Kunavore justified his late call-up with a close-range drop-goal to put Toulouse a point ahead.
That immediately became six when the French side broke through down the left, Patricio Albacete releasing Kelleher – who was yesterday cleared of stamping - for the touchdown. Skrela failed to convert.
Lineen responded by making two changes up front, Moray Low and Kelly Brown entering the fray.
But it was not enough to restore Glasgow’s first-half intensity, their malaise summed up when Jauzion ran straight through the middle to score Toulouse’s third try.
Skrela converted but then missed a 40-metre penalty to leave the visitors 13 points ahead.
A mazy run from Evans saw Glasgow get within inches of scoring their first try but the visitors’ defence held firm.
Lineen made a host of changes in the final quarter but it took three terrible errors from Toulouse to allow Fa’atau to chase a loose ball almost the length of the field and score.
Parks converted to take Glasgow back within six points with less than five minutes remaining but it was too late.