Sunday 20th April
PEC ZWOLLE 5-1 AJAX
Sunday was an amazing day for PEC Zwolle’s fans across the country as they humilated Frank de Boer’s Ajax to a 5-1 thumping to clinch their first ever major trophy in Dutch football. However, the result proved to be not the only fireworks of the afternoon.
The final at the De Kuip had to be temporarily stopped due to the troublesome minority of Ajax fans that threw explosives onto the pitch.
Play was suspended after the opening seconds when Zwolle’s first attack into the Ajax’s penalty area was greeted with the raining down of smoke bombs thrown by the Ajax supporters. Rotterdam police stated 19 fans were arrested prior the kick-off for bad behaviour and carrying fireworks and other explosives.
The fireworks damaged the pitch and burnt advertising boards twice delay the play despite their own players and coaches protesting to the supporters. Match officials sent the players back to the dressing room with Ajax legend Edwin van der Sar marching on the pitch with a microphone and pleaded with fans. “Do not throw fireworks on the pitch, it’s dangerous,” Van der Sar said. “If it happens again, the match is abandoned.”
Just after play was re-started Ricardo van Rhijn gave the Amsterdammers the lead after just three minutes with a rocket of his own. Zwolle failed to fully clear a corner and the ball fell perfectly to the full-back to smash home a first time shot from 35 yards into the net off the underside of the cross bar.
After the goal, the chaos resumed and the play was once again halted by the unruly Ajax fireworks being thrown onto the pitch. The game was not restarted for almost thirty minutes later when Zwolle showed real character to recover from Ajax’s early opener to win their first ever piece of silverware.
Minutes after restarting the game young New Zealand international Ryan Thomas turned Van Rhijn in the area and forced an effort towards goal. The Kiwi’s shot took a wicked deflection past Kenneth Vermeer in the Ajax goal to level the game up on eight minutes.
The 19 year old winger was in a dream world just four minutes later as he notched a second to take his side into the lead. Thomas smashed home on the rebound giving Vermeer no chance after a Maikel van der Werff free-kick cannoned back of the post. The disgraced Ajax fans behind the goal failed to celebrate the quick fire double by the overwhelming underdogs with such a great blaze as Van Rhijn’s goal.
Guyon Fernandez, on-loan from the host club Feyenoord, then broke the Ajax offside trap to race through on goal after 22 minutes to add a third with ease.
On 34 minutes, perhaps the Ajax fans had wished they have preserved some fireworks to get the game halted as Zwolle created more fireworks on the pitch and killed the tie off and make it 4-1. Zwolle captain Bram van Polen whipped in a cross that was met by the head of Fernandez for the fourth. The striker rose above Niclas Moisander to head past Vermeer and the Zwolle supporters were starting to realise the dream was a reality.
The soon-to-be Eredivisie champions have been playing poorly for months but grinding out results to keep their status atop of the division. Sunday proved that they were totally outclassed by a side sitting mid-table in that same league and Zwolle fully deserved their fifth and final goal five minutes after the half-time break.
Van Polen got himself on the scoresheet to hammer the final nail into Ajax’s coffin firing home from a corner. Zwolle and manager Ron Jans were awarded the trophy and took home the spoils as Ajax were sent out of Rotterdam with their tails firmly in-between their legs.
ZWOLLE: Boer, Van Polen, Van der Werff, Broerse (Lachman 71), Van Hintum, Mokotjo, Klich, Saymak (Narsingh 64), Drost, Thomas (Gravenbeek 83), Fernandez
SUBS NOT USED: Begois, Karagounis, Nijland, Benson.
GOALS: Thomas 8 & 12, Fernandez 22 & 34, Van Polen 50.
BOOKINGS: Van Polen 24.
AJAX: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Boilesen, Moisander (Poulsen 54), Denswil, Blind, Schöne (Kishna 80), Klaassen, Serero, Bojan (De Sa 54), Sigthórsson.
SUBS NOT USED: Cillessen, Van der Hoorn, Ligeon, Duarte.
GOALS: Van Rhijn 3.
BOOKINGS: Blind 24.
Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.