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Ajax win Johan Cruijff Shield for the third time in succession (

11 Aug 2007 - Source:

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Phillip Cocu handed the Johan Cruijff Shield to Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA on Saturday night. The Amsterdam outfit won the Dutch Super Cup for the third time in succession, after they beat PSV 1-0 on Saturday night, thanks to a goal scored by Gabri on the close of half time. PSV, who did not receive any bookings, will now focus on next weekend's curtain raiser, away against Heracles.

So Ajax lifted the Johan Cruijff Shield, just like they did in 2005 and 2006. As many as four PSV strikers, Farfán, Koné, Lazovic and Perez, were ruled out of the season's opening game in Amsterdam. Youngsters Jonathan and Zeefuik were given playing time, gaining valuable experience with playing at top level. One week before the important game against Heracles Almelo, PSV did not wish to take any risks and cleverly avoided being booked. A 48, 000 crowd was not treated to an entertaining game of football. Ajax focus on playing Champions League qualifying games, while PSV had to do without several first-team regulars. Yet Ajax were happy with the win of the twelfth edition of the Johan Cruijff Shield, as there is always prestige at stake when Ajax and PSV meet.
Ajax produced the first goal threat of the first half, when Kennedy sent a curling free kick just wide of Gomes' goal. The hosts started the brighter of the two teams, closing down PSV all the time, so that Ronald Koeman's team found it hard to really start off flowing moves and create an opening. After some 25 minutes the pace of the game slowed and PSV started a few counter attacks. Box-to-box midfielder produced most danger, creating two fine chances. He fired an effort wide and sent a header just over Stekelenburg's goal. Ajax no longer dominated proceedings and PSV combined well, but played low-tempo football. Ajax opened the scoring on the verge of half-time. The PSV defence failed to clear the ball properly from the penalty area, after which Gabri blasted home from close range.
Koeman took off Jan Kromkamp during half-time and the Brazilian Alcides came on. Ajax captain Jaap Stam was also withdrawn. The pace of the game continued to slow. PSV never dug deep and Ajax also took their feet off the pedal, ahead of two crucial European games. PSV lacked cutting edge, with four forwards sidelined and the midfielders consequently tried their luck with some long-range efforts. Méndez started a fine solo run, bur sent his shot wide and Koeman brought on Jason Culina for the Ecuadorian. Young striker Género Zeefuik also left the bench and joined the attack. At the other end Huntelaar and Rommedahl created slender chances, but neither team put in a sparkling second-half display. Tempers flared up when Heitinga vehemently showed discontent with Aissati's tackle on Emanuelson, but at the end of the day Ajax retained the Johan Cruijff Shield. PSV wail be next in action on Tuesday night, when they meet amateurs UNA in Veldhoven on an artificial pitch.