Ajax suffer first defeat of Dutch football season

The Hague, Aug 12 (IANS) AZ Alkmaar handed Ajax Amsterdam their first defeat of the Eredivisie season by beating the reigning champions 3-2.

AZ were the better side in the first half, but Ajax took the lead after a free-kick from Christian Eriksen. At the stroke of half-time Roy Beerens equalised after a mistake by Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, reports Xinhua.

Ajax took control in the second half with captain Siem de Jong giving the visitors the lead again. He headed in a cross by Bojan Krkic.

However, a red card for Ajax-defender Ricardo van Rhijn, after stopping Nick Viergever illegally, became the turning point of the match. Aron Johannsson converted the awarded penalty and 15 minutes from time Viktor Elm earned AZ the victory.

"We were not playing well in the first half," Ajax coach Frank de Boer reacted. "In the second half we were better and we were waiting for the third goal. After the red card and the penalty things turned around unfortunately. I think it should not have been a red card."

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