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May 31, 2013

Bordeaux wins dramatic Cup final

SAINT-DENIS, France -- Cheick Diabate scored an 89th minute winner to help Bordeaux beat Evian 3-2 in the French Cup final on Friday.

The Mali striker also notched the opener in the 39th minute, before missing a penalty in the 48th.

Yannick Sagbo equalized for Evian in the 51st, Henri Saivet restored Bordeaux's lead two minutes later and Evian defender Brice Dja Djedje made it 2-2 from close range in the 70th.

However, Diabate made amends for his penalty miss with the winner, securing his club the French Cup for the fourth time and a place in next season's Europa League.

"I'm going to keep this ball, it's a great keepsake," Diabate said. "I'll bring this ball back to Mali, it will be a beautiful gift for my parents."

The victory earned Bordeaux its first silverware since the preseason Champions Trophy in 2009.

"It's heartwarming to finish our season that way," Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot said. "We were tired but we went all the way." Evian, which has never won a trophy and spent most of the season in an ultimately successful fight against relegation, showed its lack of experience in the final.

Diabate finally converted his team's domination in the 39th, when he beat the offside trap to chase a long ball from fullback Mariano and round goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait before firing into the bottom corner.

Bordeaux nearly doubled its lead after Evian midfielder Milos Ninkovic pulled Diabate's arm inside the area, only for Laquait to stop Diabate's penalty.

Evian got back in the match three minutes later. Left back Daniel Wass chested down a high ball from Kevin Berigaud and provided a low pass for Sagbo, who netted from close range.

Bordeaux quickly reacted, with Saivet sliding home a free kick from Gregory Sertic. The pressure continued to build as Laquait parried a low shot from Saivet and Evian defender Cedric Cambon cleared a header from Diabate off the line.

Evian leveled again when Dja Djedje arrived at the far post to tap in a low cross from substitute Cedric Barbosa.

But Diabate decided the contest when he collected a looping pass from Nicolas Maurice-Belay to beat Laquait from six yards (meters).

"We thought we did the most difficult part by rallying twice, but we were a bit naive by making some defensive mistakes," Evian coach Pascal Dupraz said.

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