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WATCH: 13-man Exeter take a five-point advantage into Thomond Park

Exeter will have a five point advantage in Thomond Park after they defeated Munster in the first leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 tie.



Exeter will have a five point advantage in Thomond Park after they defeated Munster in the first leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 tie.

Exeter hosted the men in red in Sandy Park in the final Irish European match of the weekend. The visitors had already been heavily disrupted in the build up, as they had lost both Simon Zebo and Diarmuid Barron prior to kick-off.

Stuart Hogg got the hosts off to the best possible start, scoring in the first five minutes. It came from a free kick, which was quickly spread into the hands of Tom O'Flaherty, who broke the defensive line.

An offload to the Scottish captain was finished off in the corner for the difficult conversion attempt, which was missed.

From there, the match died down, with neither side managing to dominate in any tangible manner.

However, moments before half time, Jacques Vermuelen capitalised on Exeter pressure and a yellow card to Jack O’Sullivan to eventually crash over the line and extend the lead to 10 points at the break.

It was the first time since 2018 that Munster were held scoreless at half time. It took just short of an hour for Ben Healy to finally put Munster on the board, with a penalty.

Momentum seemed to swing in Munster's direction after that, though, as Exeter were reduced to 13 men in just two minutes, with Olly Woodburn being sent off for an illegal cleanout, and Patrick Schickerling sin binned shortly after for hands in the ruck.

In spite of being two men down, Exeter extended their lead with a well-struck drop goal from Hogg.

Shane Daly managed to capitalise on the extra man with a superb try, however that would be all that the visitors would take away from the game.

However, Keith Earls showed his determination and experience to track back and save the five-point deficit with a spectacular cover tackle to prevent a try late in the game.

Munster will now have to win by more than five points next week when Exeter travel to Thomond Park if they are to move on to the quarter finals.

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Exeter Keith Earls Munster Stuart Hogg Thomond Park

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