Patrick Paauwe shook off an injury to take his place in central defence in a game that Feyenoord had trouble getting to grips with in the opening phase. Ajax showed much more initiative in the first quarter of an hour. The visitor’s only effort was a free kick from Van Hooijdonk that was beaten down by a solid Amsterdam wall. The home side threatened sporadically, and Machlas headed against the bar, before Emerton outran the Ajax defence on the right and found the head of Van Hooijdonk with his cross, but keeper Grim blocked with his body.
Ajax continued to turn the screw as the Rotterdammers found it difficult keep hold of the ball. Ono, Emerton and Rzasa were the worst offenders.
Only a spectacular reflex save from Edwin Zoetebier ensured Feyenoord went in level at half time, when it seemed that Wamberto would open the scoring. Zoots continued to show the form that has brought him so close to full international honours in the second period too. Wamberto again saw his shot saved by Feyenoord’s number one. Then the Volendam-born goalie had a rush of blood to his head and found himself stranded far from his goal as Van der Meyde bore down on him. Zoetebier got his hand to the cross, but only deflected it into the path of the oncoming Wamberto, whose header hit the bar and went out to safety behind the goal.
Feyenoord tried to attack, but found it hard to create much. The only real chance fell to Tomasson, who headed over. Leonardo came in for Kalou and with ten minutes left on the clock it was the Brazilian who made the breakthrough, as he stormed through the Ajax defence before slotting the ball home for the opener. Leonardo showed his joy by racing into the arms of trainer Bert van Marwijk.
It was the beginning of a hectic phase as the home side pressed for parity. Zoetebier saved a couple of efforts, but when Machlas hit the deck in the vicinity of Zoetebier’s body, referee Jol decided that equality was the preferred option and pointed to the spot. Bergdølmo stepped up to level. It was to be the end of the scoring for another week and the sides shared the spoils.
Ajax-Feyenoord 1-1 (0-0)
79’ 0-1 Leonardo
85 1-1 Bergdølmo (pen.)
Ajax: Grim; Trabelsi, Bergdølmo, Chivu, Maxwell (80’ Ikedia); Van Halst, O’Brien, Pienaar (65’ Zlatan), Van der Meyde; Machlas, Wamberto (65’ Yakubu).
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Kalou (63’ Leonardo), Bosvelt, Ono, Van Persie; Tomasson (84’ Loovens), Van Hooijdonk.
Referee: D. Jol
Yellow cards: Ono, Rzasa, Trabelsi, Chivu, Bergdolmo