Leinster Rugby bowed out of the Heineken Champions Cup to an Alex Goode-inspired Saracens, falling to a 25-17 quarter-final defeat at Aviva Stadium.

Recovering from a first half which saw them fall 22-3 behind, tries from Andrew Porter (48 minutes) and Jordan Larmour (61) made it a five-point game and teed up a tantalising finish.

Ryan Baird, one of three Champions Cup debutants for the hosts, was part of a strong bench effort, but a last-minute penalty from Goode ended Leinster’s 2019/20 campaign.

With COVID-19 restrictions robbing this heavyweight clash of any crowd, Goode quickly made an impact with three central penalties inside 11 minutes. The best of them was from 42 metres out as the visitors built a 9-3 lead.

Johnny Sexton sandwiched in a meaty response from the left wing, rewarding the breakdown work of tighthead Porter. However, the province’s best first-quarter assault was foiled by a Maro Itoje interception.

Saracens were defending astutely to keep Leinster contained near halfway and after South African prop Vincent Koch won a 24th-minute penalty, Elliot Daly’s kick put nine points between the sides.

The pair combined again soon after, Daly drilling over from distance after another powerful Saracens set-piece. Leinster had a big maul opportunity approaching half-time after Saracens leaked a series of penalties but they managed to clear the danger with a turnover and another scrum penalty.

The defending European champions then went for the jugular four minutes before the break. Duncan Taylor deftly drew in two defenders and offloaded for Goode to slice through from 25 metres out and score past Hugo Keenan’s last-ditch tackle.

The reigning European Player of the Year also converted to push the gap out to 19 points, with Daly failing with a late 63-metre penalty attempt. The England full-back missed an early second-half drop goal before Leinster finally seized some control.

It was much more like it from Leo Cullen’s men when Porter, with support from James Ryan, drove in underneath the posts following some energetic phases. Sexton took the hosts into double figures but Saracens’ physical defence managed to keep out further attempts.

That was until the hour mark when Sexton was caught high by Mike Rhodes, the penalty leading to a quick switch back to midfield where Sexton’s early pass put Larmour outside Alex Lewington and in close to the posts for a rallying seven-pointer.

Rhodes, the eventual Heineken star-of-the-match, redeemed himself with some key interventions, and despite Goode and Daly suffering penalty misses, Leinster crucially coughed up possession when trying to break from deep.

It was left to the 32-year-old Goode to steer over a clinching penalty from the right wing, completing his handsome 19-point haul.