THE HAGUE, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Ajax qualified for the Dutch Cup final for the 24th time in history, after beating Cup holders AZ 1-0 in Alkmaar on Thursday.
After 33 minutes Ajax defender Joel Veltman pulled the arm of AZ midfielder Viktor Elm, after which Veltman was sent off with his second yellow card and AZ were rewarded a penalty. Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer saved the visitors by stopping the penalty.
Immediately after the break AZ defender Mattias Johansson was also sent off with his disputed second yellow card after an alleged foul on Lesley de Sa. AZ was double punished because Lasse Schone placed the awarded free-kick over the wall into the top corner. AZ hunted for the equalizer in the remaining of the match, but found Vermeer on their way.
Ajax will meet PEC Zwolle, which beat NEC 2-1 on Wednesday, in the final on April 20 in Rotterdam.
So far Ajax played 23 Dutch Cup finals, of which the Amsterdam based club won 18 times. PEC will play their third final, after losing the final in 1928 and 1977.