Ten Ajax players held their own against eleven Feyenoord players. Coach Adrie Koster could live with the draw after ninety fascinating minutes: 2-2. Two subs scored for Ajax.
,,This was a very fascinating match, it was a Clssic that had it all’’, Ajax coach Koster said about his first Feyenoord - Ajax. The always charged clash between the two Dutch powers once again offered a spectacle.
,,Both teams had the opportunity to win today’’, Koster said. Ajax's coach saw his team get off to a difficult start. The home side was more aggressive than the visitors in the first half. The rowdy atmosphere in the stadium had its effect on some of the Ajax players. Koster: ,,Some guys were nervous. They were clearly impressed by their surroundings.’’ Feyenoord took the lead after 28 minutes. Giovanni van Bronckhorst fired the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg (1-0).
,,At halftime, I said that we had to defend tighter and that we had to play more aggressively.’’ The words of the interim coach were converted into action in the second half. Substitute Dennis Rommedahl brought his team alongside Feyenoord seven minutes into the second half. The Dane had come on for Albert Luque, while Kennedy Bakircioglu had replaced Luis Suarez. The Spaniard and the Uruguayan were taken off halfway for disciplinary reasons. Koster declined to go into the matter any further.
Siem de Jong, another substitute, also contributed. The midfielder who had come on for the injured Gregory van der Wiel, gave Ajax the lead in his first Classic with a diagonal shot.
The end phase of Feyenoord - Ajax was especially dramatic. George Ogararu involuntary was the object of the drama. The Romanian back suffered a concussion after colliding with Giovanni van Bronckhorst and had to come off. After Ogararu left, Ajax had to play on with ten as Koster had already used up his substitutions.
De Guzman brought his team back. Hedwiges Maduro inadvertantly helped the opponent when he was judged to have fouled Michael Mols, although the Ajax midfielder hardly seemed to have touched Mols in the box. Stekelenburg confirmed his reputation as a penalty killer by saving Lucius' spot kick. But in the rebound Jonathan de Guzman scored after all: 2-2.
,,Feyenoord could have won it in the closing stages’’, said Koster. ,,In the end, I can live with this result.’’
Because PSV and AZ drew as well (1-1), Ajax remain in first place in the league table.