Ajax do well in matches against Feyenoord and PSV this season. It seemed that Ajax, after they had won in the Amsterdam ArenA earlier this season, would win against Feyenoord in stadium De Kuip in Rotterdam this Easter Sunday. Already in the first half the team had enough chances, but Feyenoord's goalkeeper got in the way of Rafael van der Vaart's attempts. Things went better in the second half and Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave his team the lead. When Ajax thought the three points were safe, Dirk Kuijt brought his team alongside with a late goal: 1-1.
The draw will hurt Ajax the least of the two rivals, as the team still has a big lead over PSV in the table. Feyenoord needed a win to stay in the race for the second place in the league. But of course there was also prestige at stake. There is almost nothing sweeter for an Ajax player than winning in De Kuip.
Coach Ronald Koeman had chosen a defensive concept, with Tomás Galásek guarding Thomas Buffel an making sure the Belgian was all but invisible in the first half. Ajax were positioned well, played a good first half and should have taken the lead going into halftime. Rafael van der Vaart had three chances, fired off good shots but every time goalkeeper Zoetebier reacted well.
Although Ajax were not as dominant in the second half, the side took the lead. Rafael van der Vaart won the ball from Hossam Ghaly and crossed from the left side. Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave the ball the last touch: 0-1.
Just like last week, Ajax had the chance to expand their lead, but did not succeed. Feyenoord played one on one, but Ajax failed to use the space that was created. Koeman brought on Yakubu for Wesley Sneijder, Nicolae Mitea for Victor Sikora and Yannis Anastasiou for Ibrahimovic.
Mitea was careless with all the room he had to make his moves. Therefore, the margin was minimal and the danger of an equaliser ever present. All of a sudden, Johnny Heitinga lost the ball to Robin van Persie, who crossed to Dirk Kuijt who was left wide open. The Feyenoord forward had no trouble sliding the ball past Bogdan Lobont: 1-1.
Koeman: ,,I think Heitinga will never make that mistake again. It was a good lesson for the future. He was punished for making the wrong choice. He should have just shot the ball far away."
The late equaliser made for a result that did not reflect the overall picture of the match. ,,We have to be happy with a draw'', Feyenoord boss Bert van marwijk admitted. ,,We have ourselves to blame for not winning'', added Koeman.