Demy de Zeeuw is one of Ajax’s players who already has a cup final on his CV. In 2007, he played his first final with his former club, AZ. Against Ajax, no less.
As his thoughts return to May 6, 2007, De Zeeuw is overcome with a mixture of pride and disappointment. Pride from reaching the cup final and disappointment because, one week after losing the national championship, the KNVB Cup slipped through his fingers as well. After a nerve racking series of penalty kicks (7-8), Ajax won the cup. “I think that AZ-Ajax was one of the best finals in the last years. It was a spectacular match with a terrific atmosphere. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the prize then. AZ just wasn’t meant to win anything that year; at least that’s how I felt then, during the final. We took an early lead, and Ajax even went one man down before extra time (red for Gabri). And still, we didn’t manage. Despite the fact that we had every opportunity, it just didn’t happen.”
In the two matches against Feyenoord, De Zeeuw will get another chance, in his first season with Ajax. For the third (and fourth) time, he can go for it against Feyenoord. “Obviously, it’s a final that everyone is looking forward to. Now, we just have to wait and see if it will deliver the great match that everybody’s hoping for.”
The first two ‘Klassiekers’ went well for Ajax’s midfielder. Ajax defeated Feyenoord 5-1 in the Amsterdam ArenA. In De Kuip, the match ended with a 1-1 tie. “I scored twice during my first ‘Klassieker’. They say that if you score against Feyenoord during your first ‘Klassieker’, you can never go wrong with the supporters afterwards. In that respect, I started off twice as well. But you need to continue to perform well. Those two goals alone are obviously not enough.”
Regardless of his goals against Feyenoord, his relationship with the supporters was good from the start. “I was received very well”, said De Zeeuw. “You can feel respect from the supporters. That’s nice. I think it’s important as a player to give something back. Giving back some of the trust that they give to you. I do this by, for example, always playing my best. Even when it’s not going well, I always keep working hard for the team. In that respect, I think my style of playing matches well with Ajax’s.”
De Zeeuw maintains a special feeling about this past cup season, where Ajax, despite their advantages in the competition, had the toughest time with teams like AGOVV, FC Dordrecht and NEC. “The draw seemed easy, but the matches were all quite difficult. That’s why we wanted to go all out during the last match against Go Ahead Eagles. The same holds true for the Feyenoord match. We’ll need to give our best, because we’re facing two tough games.”
The international has a good feeling about the third (and fourth) ‘Klassieker’ of the season. “When I look back to our previous two matches against Feyenoord, I can’t help but feel that we were better both times. But we tied the game in De Kuip (1-1). That’s why we need to show that we’re really better by winning the final.”