Ajax wins Cup

Ajax wins Cup

Ajax won its eighteenth KNVB Cup in the club’s history, at Feyenoord’s expense. In de Kuip in Rotterdam, Ajax mastered Feyenoord, 1-4. Ajax started this second final match with a comfortable lead, after winning the first match 2-0.

Ajax’s start in Rotterdam was reminiscent of the beginning of the first Cup final match, which took place on April 25. Siem de Jong provided Ajax a 2-0 lead within seven minutes in the Amsterdam ArenA. Almost two weeks later, in de Kuip, it was Luis Suarez who made his move early on. The Uruguayan got possession via Feyenoord’s Denny Landzaat. His long range shot seemed manageable at first, but proved to be too strong for Erwin Mulder: 1-0.

Just as in the first match, this match in de Kuip seemed to be decided early on. After Suarez’s goal, Feyenoord needed to score four times in order to keep their hopes alive. The Cup final was thus determined quickly.
“Beforehand, it promised to be a hot match in de Kuip”, said Martin Jol afterwards. “Then you think: we should have scored one more in the ArenA. The only thing we could do here was score early, which we did. After that, we had no more problems.”

Until the first half hour of this bland duel, Feyenoord were the more dangerous team, although Ajax was never really under serious pressure. André Bahia tapped the ball over, and Dahl Tomasson came face to face with Stekelenburg, but didn’t manage anything more than a weak attempt. After a too sharp pass from the right from Roy Makaay – the forward played his last match against Ajax – to Tomasson, the home team’s chances were exhausted.

Ajax, who debuted their new away kit, had just as few good chances during the first half. The only opportunity they had to score their second goal before the break, hit the post. Demy de Zeeuw’s hard work deserved a better fate. The hard shot which followed died before reaching the goal.

The second final match was played in de Kuip without Ajax supporters. But even in Rotterdam, Ajax still enjoyed significant moral support from their fans. Like the last competition match against NEC, the cup final in Rotterdam was broadcast live in the Amsterdam ArenA. Approximately ten thousand Ajax fans celebrated Suarez’s goal there.

Five minutes after a Karim El Ahmadi goal was disqualified as offside, De Jong brought Ajax to 2-0. A successful combination brought the midfielder in front of Mulder. With a cool finish, De Jong posted his third goal in the 2010 cup final. The bitter aftertaste of the national title which had slipped through their fingers was soon forgotten, making place for anticipation of the celebration to come as Ajax closed in on their eighteenth cup win.

Tomasson’s subsequent goal (on the rebound from Jonathan de Guzman’s free kick) was irrelevant. Ajax floated through de Kuip. De Jong rounded off a one-two with Suarez – straight through the Feyenoord defence – with his second goal of the night: 1-3. After Suarez’s goal, referee Roelof Luinge indicated the centre point for the fourth time. There was very little that could stop the Uruguayan Ajax player. Ajax’s captain was already the cup tournament’s top scorer for 2009-2010, and added a cherry on top of this in de Kuip. After his six goals against WHC, Suarez posted his seventh and eighth ones of this cup season.

“We played the first and second half with confidence”, assessed Jol. “And the cup is the second prize that can be won in The Netherlands. Today, the cup belonged to us. In the end, splitting the final into two games worked to our advantage.”

Luinge made a unique substitution shortly before the end. The referee officially retired from the highest level of football after leading this second final match. Kevin Blom took the lead on the field for the last few minutes.

What had failed thirty years ago in 1980, defeating Feyenoord during the only cup final to date between the clubs, succeeded on May 6, 2010. In the middle of the Kuip, which had been deserted at that point, Ajax celebrated their cup victory. A celebration to be continued later in the Amsterdam ArenA, with thousands of supporters.

Keep an eye on Ajax TV for the summary of the second cup final, images from the celebration, and reactions from the main players.