Without Kees van Wonderen, still unavailable due to a hamstring injury and his place was taken by Ferry de Haan.
The home side started reasonably, and the Amsterdammers were kept in their own half, but Feyenoord couldn’t really find the final pass and the first chance didn’t come until sixteen minutes in. Thomas Buffel it was who found himself with the ball at his feet in the penalty box, but he stumbled and the chance was gone.
As the first half progressed the visitors started to take control. The organisation at the back was less than optimal and Zlatan and Litmanen were both causing problems. The breakthrough came on 22 minutes when Litmann’s shot was beaten out by Zoetebier, Wamberto placed the rebound out of the keeper’s reach to put Ajax one-up.
The lead was doubled five minutes before the break when Litmanen sent Pienaar away down the left, who made some ground then returned the ball to the Finn who shot Ajax into a two goal led.
The second half began with two changes for the home side as Buffel and Pardo made way for Kalou and Van Persie. And the effect was immediate as Ono released Kalou who made for goal, pushing the ball past goalie Stekelenburg, allowing Van Hooijdonk to tap in for 1-2.
The goal warmed the Kuip up a little, although Feyenoord were still not really motoring. Kalou was the most dangerous man on the pitch for the home side. But Zlatan and Litmanen were much more aggressive at the other end. Even so, the Rotterdammers should have equalised from a free kick, but Robin van Persie’s effort thundered against the bar and out.
Feyenoord kept pressing. Kalou was put in by Song but couldn’t finish. Then Van Hooijdonk got ahead of Stekelenburg, but the defender did enough to put the striker off. It was clearly not to be.
Feyenoord-Ajax 1-2 (0-2)
22’ 0-1 Wamberto
42’ 0-2 Litmanen
56’ 1-2 Van Hooijdonk
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Emerton, De Haan (76’ Lurling), Paauwe, Rzasa; Song, Bosvelt, Ono, Pardo (46’ Kalou); Buffel (46’ Van Persie), Van Hooijdonk.
Ajax: Stekelenburg; Trabelsi, Bergdolmo, Chivu, Van Damme; Pienaar, Galasek, Litmanen (72’ Yakubu), Witschge; Wamberto (42’ Boukhari), Zlatan (70’ Mido).
Referee: R. Luinge
Van Damme, Witschge, Van Persie