The new year has been very fruitful for Leeds in the Championship, winning every league game so far and conceding just one goal in those six.
A win over Rotherham United came in the midst of a frantic weekend of sporting action with the San Francisco 49ers competing in the Super Bowl, shortly after the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.
Max Gradel’s Ivory Coast win AFCON
In terms of actual stakes in AFCON this year, Leeds had no players taking part in the tournament, but the final did see a former Whites star starting for Ivory Coast.
Max Gradel started on the right-wing for his country – a 106th cap for the ex-Leeds winger – but his side didn’t get off to the best start when William Troost-Ekong opened the scoring for Nigeria.
However, Franck Kessie levelled with 62 minutes on the clock, eight minutes before Gradel was substituted.
The 36-year-old was on the winning side though, as Sebastien Haller struck in the 81st-minute to seal a dramatic late win:
Simon Grayson reacts to Gradel triumph
The AFCON official Instagram account shared a picture of Gradel kissing the trophy during the celebrations:
In the comments was Gradel’s former manager at Leeds, Simon Grayson:
Huge career moment for Gradel
It brings back fond memories seeing this from Grayson, and it’s great to see that the twilight of Gradel’s career has brought a huge achievement.
At 36, it’s incredible to think he’s still going on the international stage, given how much attacking talent that the Ivory Coast have.
Gradel is a player that I’m sure every Leeds fan is delighted to see achieve something like this late in his career.