Luke McAlister put in a man of the match performance as Sale sharks fended off the Brive in the quarter-final of the European Challenge Cup.
Brive came into this match struggling in the French championship and knowing this was their last chance of silverware this season.
But home fly half Luke McAlister set the tone of the match opened the scoring with a penalty after just two minutes.
A cagey kicking game followed as both sides looked for space with the boot, and when Foden forced wing Filimone Boleavucu to carry the ball over his own line with an intelligent chip to the corner, Sale had a scrum five meter out and a chance for the opening try of the match.
The home pack's superiorly was demonstrated as they controlled the push to hand Chabel the easy score. McAlister coolly converted and Sale were ten points to the good after just ten minutes.
And the screw was turned even tighter when McAlister notched his second penalty three minutes later after Brive hooker Julien Bonrepaux was guilty of a foul on opposite number Sheridan.
It wasn't long before McAlister continued with his starring role. His inch perfect chip was collected in the far right corner by Lee Thomas who dived over, before McAlister flashed the conversion across the face of the goal.
Sale took their foot off the gas and Brive breached the Sale defence on the half hour. Farid Sid peeled from the back of a close range scrum to score.
Maxime Petitjean added the extras but almost immediately McAlister clawed back three points with a sweetly stuck penalty from 40m. Sadly for the visitors Petitjean was unable to cancel that kick as he missed his penalty just seconds later.
But Brive continued to fight their way back into the match and Vickus Leibenberg had the strength to fend off Sale defenders and score in the corner on the stroke of half time.
Petitjean failed with the conversion, but his side were well and truly back in the game as they went into the interval.
Sale began the second half in confident fashion, and put a nail in Brive's coffin with a 48th minute try from replacement second row Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, McAlister converted to cancel out the late first half score from the visiting Frenchmen.
Charl Van Rensburg was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball and the dominant Sle packed punished Brive with another pushover from five meters. Fernandez Lobbe grabbed his second score in less than ten minutes and the game was effectively over when metronomic McAlister added two further points with a difficult conversion from the touchline.
But just as in the first half, Brive responded and it took a decision from the TMO to confirm a score from front row heavyweight Jean-Phillipe Bonrepeaux.
It was to be Sale's night however, and Will Cliff took his side to 40 points with his side's fifth try, converted again by the classy McAlister.
And Sale were awarded a penalty try when Brive's pack buckled repeatedly five meters from their line. McAlister took his personal tally to 19 points with the conversion in front of the posts.
The result was secure but Brive had one final say. And they ended the second half as they finished the first, with a try for Leibenburg, converted by Petitjean.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.