Bert van Marwijk would have been opening that his side could keep things tight in the first twenty minutes, but his hopes were shattered by a double home strike early on. Mitea found Rafael van der Vaart, who back-heeled the ball over himself and Lodewijks to give Ajax the lead.
Seven minutes later, Shinji Ono lost possession to Maxwell, who played in Van der Vaart with a long ball and the youngster exploited a misunderstanding between Van Wonderen and Lodewijks to score the second.
The quarter-hour mark was long gone by the time Feyenoord managed to conjure up anything resembling a threat to the home goal. Thomas Buffel set up Dirk Kuyt in the box, but the striker’s shot was deflected for a corner that came to nothing. A few minutes later, Lobont was forced to scoop a Robin van Persie cross from under his bar.
Feyenoord added some fire and some muscle to the encounter as a result, especially right back Gill Swerts, who looked secure in his tackling and imaginative in his forward play.
On the half-hour Rotterdam hearts skipped a beat in anticipation when Buffel found himself in space in the box, but his shot was hard but straight at the keeper, who held firm.
There was more bad news when Shinji Ono was injured and had to leave the field after getting in the way of a rattling Robin van Persie drive. The Japanese was knocked unconscious and Gerard Meijer and doctor Van Linschoten quickly concluded that the best option was to take off their playmaker. Van Marwijk reacted by bringing on Chong-Gug Song at right back and moving Gill Swerts up into midfield.
The first big chance of the second half fell to Ajax. Mitea skinned Song down the Feyenoord right and played a ball in that Van der Vaart met at the near post, but his effort went over.
As the half progressed the visitors started to create things too, but neither Buffel, Kuyt nor Lurling were able to trouble Lobont between the Ajax posts as the final pass more often than not went astray.
There were fire in Rotterdam bellies, but the home side had a clear edge in terms of sharpness. That said, there were opportunities for the visitors. A Robin van Persie free kick forced keeper Lobont into a double-fisted save on 64.
At the other end, Ibrahimovic found Patrick Lodewijks barring the way to glory not once but twice.
Coach Van Marwijk decided the time was right to introduce fresh blood, bringing on Salomon Kalou for his debut with twenty left on the clock for Anthony Lurling, and Ebi Smolarek seven minutes later for Robin van Persie.
The Rotterdammers did threaten the home goal once more, when Patrick Paauwe’s thunderbolt free kick was kept out by an ever-alert Lobont, but in the end Ajax ran out 2-0 winners.
1-0 Van der Vaart (4’)
2-0 Van der Vaart (11’)
Lobont; Grygera, Escudé, Heitinga, Maxwell; De Jong, Galasek, Van der Vaart (81. Yakubu), Sneijder; Sonck (60. Ibrahimovic) en Mitea (69. Soetaers)
Lodewijks; Swerts, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Snoyl; Lurling (67. Kalou), Schreuder, Ono (38. Song), Van Persie (74. Smolarek); Kuyt, Buffel
Yellows: Swerts (27’), Schreuder (80. – misses next game)