Mont de Marsan take a one-point lead into their home leg of their PARKER PEN SHIELD quarter-final against Petrarca Padova following their narrow 16-15 win at the Stadio Plebiscito.
But it was the home side that burst out of the blocks, Fabiao Faggiotto finishing off a nice move to score the opening try of the match after just one minute. Samoan outside half Ngapaku Ngapaku stepped up to convert to make the score 7-0.
Fijian No.10 Waisale Serevi got the away side off the mark with a sixth-minute penalty goal, and he added another after 28 minutes to narrow the gap to just one point.
And the French club moved into lead on 32 minutes when wing Philippe Patin scored, and Serevi improved.
But Petrarca clawed their way back into the match with a try on the stroke of half-time thanks to a try from Italy centre Mirco Bergamasco.
The second half saw Serevi's drop goal on the hour mark extend the Mont de Marsan lead to 16-12, to silence the crowd of 600.
But the home fans soon found their voice as Petrarca rolled up their sleeves and pushed for another score.
The final minutes were frantic with Petrarca pushing for the match points. Referee David Changleng spotted an infringement and signalled a penalty. With the game in overtime Petraca, knowing time would not allow an attempt to the catch and drive, elected to take the three points, to cut the deficit to just one point, setting up an intriguing return match next weekend in France.
Petrarca Padova: M Bergamasco; M Baroni, A Chillon, M Barbini, F Faggiotto; N Ngapaku, P Travalgi; P Menapace, L Ferraro, A Muraro, D Tumiati, G Laufs, A Cenedese, R Rampazzo, M Bortolami
Replacements: G Boccalon, M Matteralia, G Llanos, O Bortolusso/E Bortolato, F Dalla Nora, A Marcato, L Pasqualin
Mont de Marsan: F Dabadie; O Toulouze, S Loubsens, R Jahouer, P Patin; W Serevi, N Morlaes; X Audu, F Anglade, S Bria, M Koita, G Chasseriau, P Alaoui, R Sonnes, F Lalanne
Replacements: S Boizot, L Denez, P Lago, J Vincent, J Labat, N Cabannes, A Vignau-Tuquet
Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)