Nothing separated the teams before Masuku’s final kick, which was out on the right at around 45m from the goal posts, and came from a penalty conceded at the breakdown as the French club tried to run down the clock as a draw would have been enough for them to qualify for the round of 16.
The tryless encounter in Parma will probably not be remembered for long, but for supporters of the Toyota Cheetahs, it was just what they wanted as they finished with two wins and two defeats from their four pool matches.
Masuku’s heroics at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma will probably go down in folklore in Bloemfontein. The Toyota Cheetahs flyhalf kicked penalty goals in the 23rd and 65th minutes to keep his team alive on the scoreboard, as Thibault Debaes replicated his opposite number with three-pointers in the 29th and 44th minutes.
It was a game in which defence held sway, and although both teams lets slip a few opportunities, the Toyota Cheetahs won’t complain too much as they did what was needed on a cold night in Italy.
As a result of their victory, the Toyota Cheetahs have secured a round of 16 clash against French powerhouse Toulon at the end of March or early April, with the dates and kickoff times of the playoffs still to be finalised.
The Emirates Lions will face Racing-92 in their knock-out match on the same weekend.
Toyota Cheetahs 9 (3) – Penalty goals: Siya Masuku (3).
Section Paloise 6 (3) – Penalty goals: Thibault Debaes (2).