Five-star Zwolle sink Ajax to clinch Dutch Cup

"It still hasn't fully sunk in," said PEC Zwolle coach Ron Jans after his side recovered from falling behind to beat AFC Ajax 5-1 and lift the Dutch Cup for the first time in their history.

Zwolle celebrate after their emphatic Dutch Cup final triumph
Zwolle celebrate after their emphatic Dutch Cup final triumph ©AFP

PEC Zwolle made history in Rotterdam on Sunday as they beat AFC Ajax 5-1 to win their maiden Dutch Cup title.

The showpiece began well for Eredivisie leaders Ajax when Ricardo van Rhijn gave them the lead with just three minutes gone, but Ryan Thomas hit back with a pair of goals and Guyon Fernandez also struck twice in the first half. Bram van Polen completed the eye-catching win after the interval as Zwolle sealed their first ever place in UEFA Europa League qualifying.

Lying mid-table in the Dutch elite, Zwolle showed character to recover from Ajax's early opener, blasted high into the net from 25 metres out by defender Van Rhijn. The match changed completely after a delay to clear fireworks, with Thomas scoring via a deflected shot on seven minutes and then pouncing on a rebound not long afterwards.

Fernandez made it 3-1 to Zwolle with 20 minutes gone and headed in his second shortly after the half-hour. Any hopes Ajax had of fighting their way back were undone when Van Polen completed the scoring five minutes into the second half. "I still cannot believe it," commented victorious coach Ron Jans. "It was such a bizarre beginning, and then we won 5-1."

"We reacted fantastically. We were deadly efficient. The first five chances went in. We could have scored even more, but I am not unhappy. It still hasn't fully sunk in, though." On the losing side in the 1928 and 1977 cup finals, Zwolle can now look forward to European football next term. "I hope we will play AC Milan," added Jans.