After tributes by the Dutch football team and FC Barcelona, Dutch football league leaders Ajax said farewell to the late club legend Johan Cruyff with a 3-0 win over PEC Zwolle.
Before the match, thousands of fans held a commemoration march here on Sunday for Cruyff, who passed away at the age of 68 on March 24 in Barcelona, reports Xinhua news agency.
The memorial trip went from the location of former Ajax stadium De Meer in Amsterdam East, past Cruyff’s birthplace in the Betondorp neighbourhood, near the former stadium, to the new stadium, the Amsterdam Arena, already renamed Johan Cruyff stadium by many fans.
The Ajax players wore black armbands and a special Cruyff badge on their shirt. In the centre circle of the field, a major Ajax shirt with number 14 was rolled out, besides large shirts of FC Barcelona and the Dutch team. Just like before one minute of silence was observed to commemorate the national icon during all other matches in Dutch professional football this weekend.
All 50,000 fans in Amsterdam were involved in a special choreography to create the text Johan Cruyff, 1947-2016. In addition, on the big screens and hoardings, the death of Cruijff was the only theme. Jordi Cruyff, his only son, was present at the Arena after his attendance at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on Saturday.
Unlike the Dutch national team, which lost 2-3 to France on March 25, and FC Barcelona, which were beaten 1-2 by Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday, Ajax won the tribute match against PEC Zwolle. Lasse Schone headed in after just two minutes, Arek Milik added two more goals to make it 3-0 before half-time. In the second half, both teams failed to score.
The win meant Ajax stayed in pole position to capture the Dutch title. With five-match rounds remaining the Amsterdam-based giants are two points ahead of PSV, which beat AZ Alkmaar 4-2 on Saturday. Feyenoord, which defeated Excelsior 3-0 on Saturday, are third, 19 points behind the league leaders.