November 29, 2020

Match abandoned after keeper kicks fan

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Wednesday’s last-16 tie in the Dutch Cup between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar was abandoned after 38 minutes with Ajax leading 1-0 following a pitch invasion by a supporter.

An Ajax fan came onto the pitch and ran towards Alkmaar’s Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban.

The goalkeeper kicked the fan in retaliation after being kicked himself – but was given a red card for misconduct.

After he was dismissed, Alkmaar’s furious coach Gert Jan Verbeek ordered his team to leave the pitch.

Alkmaar’s technical director Earnest Stewart said: “Verbeek ordered the team off the pitch to control the situation and, in the dressing room, our players said they don’t feel safe anymore on the pitch.”

An Ajax official said that the police arrested a 19-year-old man.

“I saw that Esteban was attacked and that he defended himself,” Ajax coach Frank de Boer said.

“I don’t know how I would have reacted but I can understand Esteban with his South American temper. I understand the decision of Alkmaar because of all the emotion at that moment.”

Referee Bas Nijhuis defended his decision to show Esteban a red card.

“I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times,” Nijhuis said.

“He could also have walked away.”

Alkmaar director Toon Gebrands said that the club would respect any decision taken by the disciplinary board of the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) but that the safety of his players was at stake.

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