Silverware for Sainsbury as PEC Zwolle upsets Ajax

PEC Zwolle players celebrate lifting the Johan Cruyff Shield (Getty Images)

It is the image that will provide great comfort to Australia fans: Trent Sainsbury proudly showing off his winner's medal, having been selected to start for PEC Zwolle in the Dutch club's 1-0 win over Ajax in the Johan Cruyff Shield.

The highly-rated Sainsbury was slated for higher representative honours when he left A-League club Central Coast Mariners in January for the Dutch Eredivisie.

His season, and any hopes of making the Socceroos' 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, were cruelled when the 22 year-old fractured his knee on a sprinkler in his debut match for the club.

Fully recovered from the injury,  Saiinsbury produced a solid display on the right side of the defence against Ajax, as his unfancied team kept a clean sheet.

Ron Jans's side stunned the Amsterdam outfit by staging a 5-1 demolition job to pick up its first piece of major silverware in April, and was at it again in Dutch football's annual curtain-raiser.

Another familiar face to A-League fans, Stef Nijland, who had a stint on loan with Brisbane Roar last season, scored the game's only goal 10 minutes into the second period, sending the ball beyond Kenneth Vermeer from a Kamohelo Mokotjo cross.

Zwolle's cup triumph came at Feyenoord's De Kuip, but for the Shield it headed to the home of its opponent - the Amsterdam Arena.

Ajax was without a host of 2014 FIFA World Cup stars, including Jasper Cillessen, Daley Blind and Joel Veltman, but started brightly and could have been ahead early on when Nick Viergever hit the post.

The Eredivisie champion continued to dominate, but the first use of vanishing spray in the country was the biggest talking point for the remainder of the first half.

Despite its early dominance, Ajax found it difficult to repond after falling behind to Nijland's effort and almost found itself two down when Jesper Drost went close.

And there were to be no more goals as Zwolle got its season off to a superb start, while Frank de Boer will have plenty to think about as Ajax goes in search of a fifth consecutive Eredivisie crown.

Source: Omnisport