Grenoble add leaders Clermont to list of victims
Grenoble's Italian scrum-half James Hart (L) is tackled by Clermont's Canadian lock Jamie Cudmore (R) during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Grenoble and Clermont Auvergne on February 14, 2014 at the Alpes Stadium in Grenoble - by Romain Lafabregue
Having already seen off the big guns of Toulon, Toulouse and champions Castres so far this season, Grenoble fought a brave rearguard action and maintained their unbeaten home record.
But hapless Clermont saw no fewer than three tries refused and fell short at the end, having led 10-9 at the interval, and were only reeled in thanks to Fijian Alipate Ratini's 69th minute try, converted by James Hart.
Clermont had looked set for victory where their illustrious rivals had failed when wing Julien Malzieu, returning after two weeks out through injury, went over for a try in the 23rd minute and Morgan Parra convertted to add to an earlier penalty.
All Grenoble could muster in reply in the first period were three penalities from the boot of Julien Caminati.
Grenoble's 11th victory of the campaign proved that last week's 35-17 setback against Bordeaux was little more than a glitch.
Clermont, on the other hand, were beaten for the seventh time this season and will have to wait and see how Stade Francais fare at Brive on Saturday if they are to maintain their slender lead at the top.
Grenoble look to be on course for the play-offs but their grasp on fourth place is equally tenuous as Toulon and Toulouse can overtake them again with victories at the weekend over Castres and Biarritz respectively.