European Challenge Cup: Brive 21-18 Connacht
|European Challenge Cup, Pool 1|
|Brive (9) 21|
|Pens: Laranjeira 7|
|Connacht (5) 18|
|Tries: Parata, Muldoon 2 Pen: MacGinty|
Connacht suffered another painful defeat as an injury-time penalty saw Top 14 side Brive snatch victory in the European Challenge Cup game in France.
Three Thomas Laranjeira penalties put Brive 9-5 up at half-time after Rory Parata's early Connacht try.
A John Muldoon try put Connacht ahead again only for Laranjeira to restore Brive's lead with two more penalties.
Muldoon's 78th-minute try made it 18-18 with Jack Carty missing the conversion before Laranjeira's winning penalty.
Brive's win moves them above Connacht to the top of Pool 1 although a home victory for the Irish province over Russian side Enisei-STM in Galway next weekend could still secure Pat Lam's team a quarter-final spot.
However, Saturday's result - Connacht's fifth straight defeat - was another tough loss, coming on the back on last weekend's last-gasp 21-19 reverse in Wales against Pro12 leaders the Scarlets.
Connacht's hopes of a Challenge Cup quarter-final spot had been boosted earlier in the day by Enisei-STM's shock 21-7 win over Newcastle Falcons but the Irish side were unable to exploit the surprise opportunity to take control of Pool 1.
Parata's first-minute try put Connacht 5-0 up but Laranjeira's impressive kicking put Brive ahead by half-time.
Connacht were back in front in the 53rd minute as an AJ MacGinty penalty was followed by Muldoon's first try after Ultan Dillane's initial charge towards the line.
But Connacht indiscipline allowed Laranjeira to restore Brive's advantage as he landed two more penalties before the hour mark.
Connacht looked to have avoided defeat as Muldoon's 78th-minute try levelled the game with replacement Carty missing the difficult conversion.
But a Connacht knock-on from the restart gifted possession to Brive and a further scrum infringement allowed the composed Laranjeira to kick the winning penalty from the Irish side's 10-metre line.
Brive: R Sola, G Namy, T Laranjeira, C Tuarara-Morrison, B Masilevu, M Ugalde, JB Pejoine, G Shvelidze, T Acquier, K Buys, V Lebas, A Mela, W Whetton, F Sanconnie, S Koyamaibole.
Replacements: N Bezy for Ugalde 73 mins, T Iribaren for Pejoine 56, D Lavergne for Shvelidze 51, G Ribes for Acquier 51, Y Tuncer for Buys 41, W Steenkamp for Mela 70, P Luafutu for Whetton 51.
Not Used: A Mignardi.
Connacht: T O'Hallaran, D Poolman. R Parata, B Aki, M Healy, AJ MacGinty, I Porter, R Loughney, J Harris-Wright, R Ah You, U Dillane, A Muldowney, S O'Brien, J Connolly, J Muldoon.
Replacements: T McCartney for Harris-Wright 28, F Buckley, F Bealham for Ah You 69, G Naoupu for Connolly 69, E Masterson for O'Brien 58, C Blade for Porter 59, J Carty for Aki 54, P Robb for Parata 74.