Ajax dominated the match throughout but rarely threatened in a manner comparable to their superiority in terms fo possession and had to rely on two late goals from Charisteas and Babel
Charisteas had been the first to threaten goal when he shot past the post in five minutes - a series of passes and feints gave Van Der Vaart the chance to shoot but his shot was parried by the keeper and Charisteas collected the rebound.
Much of the first half was forgettable - four minutes after Charisteas’ shot Mitea embarked on a solo run - cutting on from the right before his powerful shot was tipped over the bar.
Van Der Vaart had the ball in the net in the 12th minute after connecting with a powerful cross from Rosales but he was ruled offside.
The early second half saw Ajax engineer several dead ball situations but lacked the ariel power to convert the chances.
In the 83rd minute Charisteas forced a save after a superb move which saw Ajax interplay and movement pull the Heerenveen defence apart - the impressive centre half Peeter Hanson being, for once, forced to make the wrong decision - he left Charisteas alone and he collected a pass on the edge of the box and fired in a tremendous shot.
Fans had to wait until a couple of minutes from full-time for the deadlock to be broken. The Heerenveen defence were flat-footed at a corner and Charisteas rose unmarked and unchallenged to head the pall in.
A minute into injury time Babel roared down the left wing - took a return pass and from just inside the box shot low across goal and into the far corner.