Goals by much-admired strike force Salomon Kalou and Dirk Kuyt set up a rare win for Feyenoord in the Amsterdam Area Sunday in the Eredivisie. The Rotterdammers’ first victory in the capital since 13 May 2001 was a hard-earned victory too, as Feyenoord played out the last twenty minutes or so with ten men, after Ferne Snoyl’s dismissal. The game also saw Leonardo play the final twenty, the Brazilian’s first pitch-time of the new season.

Alfred Schreuder was the centre of attention before the game, but ultimately the midfielder didn’t make the cut and once things got underway it was Salomon Kalou that grabbed the attention. Sixteen minutes in, the Ivorian found himself in a promising position after great play between Paauwe and Kuyt. The striker didn’t bat an eyelid, powering in a crisp diagonal drive that keeper Vonk did get a hand to, but couldn’t divert from its inevitable destination in the back of the net.

It sent the visiting supporters into raptures, although the
visiting players were less effusive, fully aware as they were that
there was a long way to go.

Feyenoord concentrated instead on getting a grip on the game, and they
were fairly successful in that aim up until the break. The home side
were most often on the attack, but they created little in the way of
razor-edged chances. De Jong did have a pot shot at Lodewijks on 41,
but the Rotterdam keeper saved relatively easily.

But just before the break Koeman’s side rode their luck when Babel, then Rosenberg both went close, but Feyenoord went into the turnaround with their noses in

Feyenoord came out for the second half forty-five minutes away from
ending four and a half years of hurt at the Arena and Koeman would no
doubt have told his team to focus on holding onto their lead.

Yet within two minutes, the Maassiders had exceeded their remit,
doubling their lead. Kalou gave the ball to Kuyt, who smashed the ball
into the home net with his first touch. The dream was on.

Suddenly Ajax looked ragged and it took a good quarter of an hour
before the home side got its breath back. When the Amsterdammer’s did
finally get their attacking act together Escudé went mighty close, but
his header was cleared off the line by Snoyl.

The young left back had been solid, but he didn’t help the cause not
long after when he earned his second yellow card after a rash late
challenge on Grygera. Koeman responded by replacing Boussaboun with
Bosschaart, as Paauwe moved back into defence and Bahia reverted to
left back. Blind reacted by bringing on a striker – Boukhari – for a
defender – Escudé – in the hope of forcing the Feyenoord lock, and
within six minutes of Snoyl’s dismissal the home side found a crack and
exploited it. Substitute Charisteas found himself eye in eye with
Lodewijks and finished cooly to bring the deficit back to one goal.

It proved a real incentive for Ajax, who went all out for the leveller.
It was left to Koeman’s side to defend or die, but while Charisteas
(again) and Babel almost snatched two points out of the hands of the
Rotterdammers, the visitors hung on to claim a famous victory in the
lion’s den.

Ajax – Feyenoord 1-2
16’ 0-1 Kalou
47’ 0-2 Kuyt
79’ 1-2 Charisteas

Yellow: Grygera, Trabelsi, Paauwe

Red: Snoyl (73’, 2x yellow)

Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Snoyl; Ghaly, Paauwe, Pardo (46’ De Graaf); Boussaboun (75’ Bosschaart), Kuyt, Kalou (70’

Ajax: Vonk; Trabelsi, Grygera, Escudé (75’ Boukhari), Emanuelson; De
Jong (55’ Rosales), Maduro, Sneijder; Pienaar, Rosenberg (46’
Charisteas), Babel.

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