Ajax are in the final of the Dutch FA Cup again. In the semifinal, the home team put away RKC Waalwijk: 3-1. The victory also provided Ajax with some added confidence for the title race in the league.
Ajax lost two precious points against RKC only a short while ago, but the semifinal match in Amsterdam was more reminiscent of the first league match of the season, when Ajax defeated RKC by 5-0. Nearly eight months later, there was again much to enjoy for the Ajax supporters. Wesley Sneijder's opening goal for instance. The midfielder fired in a free kick from great distance. RKC goalkeeper Erwin Lemmens did not have a chance: 1-0. An own goal by John Heitinga brought the guests back in the match, but Ajax were not going to make the same mistake they had ten days earlier at RKC.
This time, Lemmens could not handle another free kick by Sneijder. Gabri was there first and put the ball over the goalline.
,,After we made it 2-1, it was over’’, coach Henk ten Cate said. ,,We played better in the second half, faster too. If we had not been so careless with the chances, we would have gotten an even bigger result. But it was not easy, RKC were well organized. Let's not forget that we missed some experienced players. The match had nothing to do with the league, although it gives us some more confidence. If something is about to change in the league table, it has to happen this weekend. Maybe it's going to be a very good weekend for us. But at the moment I'm just happy that we are in the Cup final.’’
With the lead back in the home side's hands and morally supported by the lively home crowd, Ajax showed some great examples of their football skills. One of the best combinations led to their third goal. George Ogararu found Kenneth Perez with a back-heel pass and the Dane crossed to Sneijder. Substitute Nicolae Mitea put the ball in the back of the net: 3-1.
Ajax now have to wait and see who the opponent in the Cup final (6 May) will be. AZ and NAC play the other semifinal on Thursday.