Girondins de Bordeaux won their first Coupe de France in 26 years, beating minnows Evian Thonon Gaillard 3-2 in the final at the Stade de France on Friday and ensuring they will qualify for the Europa League next season.
Les Girondins’ Cheick Diabate was the hero of the match, netting the 89th minute winner after having opened the scoring earlier and missing a penalty at 1-0.
Bordeaux manager Francis Gillet said the win proved it had not been a bad season despite their disappointing seventh-place finish in Ligue 1.
“Our season has not been bad. Not much has been said about our 12 matches in Europe,” he said. “We were seventh and I think that’s our [rightful] place, with five teams who are better than us, plus [OGC] Nice who got in there.”
In an entertaining game, Evian twice pegged back their more illustrious opponents before Diabate’s strike at the death finally extinguished their spirited resistance.
Given that Evian were playing in their first ever Coupe final and their most notable trophy success was a second division title in 2011, they were understandably the rank outsiders.
It was only four years ago that Bordeaux were last French champions and although they had not won the Coupe for a long time, they won the Coupe de la Ligue three times in the past 11 years.
Evian manager Pascal Dupraz admitted the better side had won.
“Their victory was logical, we struggled defensively,” he said. “
We had the chance to draw level, but we didn’t create many chances. We came back, but a final mistake condemned us,” Dupraz said.
Diabate caused Evian trouble throughout the game and managed to escape beyond the backline in the 39th minute to latch onto Mariano’s punt from right-back.
The Malian drew goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait into committing himself before rounding him and slotting past a defender on the line.
Diabate then won a penalty when Milos Ninkovic was adjudged to have pulled him back. However, Laquait got the better of Diabate this time, plunging to his left to keep out the spot-kick with a fine one-handed save.
Not long later, Evian went up the other end and Daniel Wass teed up Ivory Coast forward Yannick Sagbo to beat Cedric Carrasso with a close-range finish.
Yet within minutes, Bordeaux were back in front when Henri Saivet nipped in behind the Evian backline to head home Gregory Sertic’s free-kick.
Evian came back 20 minutes from time when captain Cedric Barbosa crossed from the left and Brice Dja Djedje was left all alone to tap home at the back post.
However, it was Diabate who would have the final word when Ivory Coast’s Dja Djedje was slow pushing up for offside, leaving the Malian striker to run onto Nicolas Maurice-Belay’s flick over the top to finish past a static Laquait.