The striker scored twice and missed a penalty in a magnificent showpiece encounter that provided a stunning climax to the French seasonA terrific Coupe de France final ended with Girondins de Bordeaux claiming the spoils at Stade de France with a 3-2 victory over Evian.
The first half was dominated by Bordeaux, who thoroughly deserved the lead given to them by Cheick Diabate before the interval.
Crucially, the striker saw a penalty saved by Bertrand Laquait soon after the restart and shortly afterwards the Annecy outfit levelled through Yannick Sagbo.
Parity lasted a matter of seconds as Henri Saivet turned home for Francis Gillot’s men from close range but Brice Dja Djedje levelled the match once more.
With only seconds remaining, however, Bordeaux snatched the winning goal through Diabate.
During the opening period, Bordeaux seemed set to overwhelm their opponents.
Diabate was proving especially hard to pin down and had several opportunities to give his side the advantage before a long ball from Mariano allowed him to beat the offside trap, round Laquait and slot into the net.
The striker remained in the thick of everything in the second half, winning a penalty 90 seconds after the restart for a foul committed by Milos Ninkovic. However, Laquait made a brilliant save from Diabate’s subsequent spot kick.
Evian had not been in the game to that point but were roused by their goalkeeper’s heroics and were quickly back on terms.
Daniel Wass managed to advanced down the left and played a low cross that Sagbo could not fail to put into the net.
It took only two minutes for Bordeaux to re-establish their advantage.
A wonderful free kick delivery from Gregory Sertic was flicked on at the near post and from six yards Saivet converted.
For five minutes Evian had to withstand a great deal of pressure.
Laquait once again excelled for the underdogs as he made a fine double save from Saivet and then Diabate, who had a header cleared from the line shortly afterwards after a rare misjudgement from the shot-stopper.
Cedric Barbosa’s introduction re-energised Evian. The veteran proved to be the inspiration for their second equaliser as it was his skill that created room for a cross that Saber Khelifa touched on for Dja Djedje to score from close range.
There was to be heartbreak for Evian right at the death, however.
They failed to properly clear a corner and as their backline advanced, Nicolas Maurice-Belay flipped a neat pass over the rearguard for Diabate to write his name into Bordeaux history.
This encounter was a magnificent way to bring down the curtain on the French season. Bordeaux have earned themselves a spot in the Europa League next season and will take part in the Trophee des Champions in the season opener in Libreville on August 3.