Sunday’s final, played at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium, was just 20 seconds old when fans situated behind the goal bombarded the pitch with a number of smoke bombs and flares. This caused a momentary pause to proceedings, before the action restarted.
However, just moments after Ricardo van Rhijn had fired Ajax into an early lead, the problems resumed. As confirmed by BBC Sport, the fireworks caused damage to the pitch and also set fire to one of the advertising boards.
The trouble forced referee Bas Nijhuis to lead the players away from the pitch and the action could not be resumed for another 25 minutes.
It was a situation that threatens to detract from what was actually a very impressive victory for Zwolle, who claimed their first-ever major trophy with the win in Rotterdam, and the Dutch authorities have vowed not to take it lightly.
According to Mark Gleeson of Reuters, KNVB director Bert van Oostveen has confirmed that there will be ramifications for the Amsterdam giants.
Van Oostveen stated, via Gleeson, “We will work with the clubs and the local authorities thoroughly to evaluate this and we will try to track down and punish the perpetrators."
It is a very sour ending to what was set to be the weekend in which Ajax would claim their first KNVB Cup triumph since 2010. The Amsterdam giants must now ensure that this sorry chapter does not derail their Eredivisie title challenge.
Frank de Boer’s men can claim a fourth successive league title with victory at Heracles.