Eredivisie wrap: AZ fight for top three spot

AZ Alkmaar resumed their pursuit of the Eredivisie top three with a 2-1 win at 10-man Roda JC on Saturday, while Heracles thumped Excelsior.

AZ, who fell to sixth on the Dutch table following last weekend’s 4-0 defeat to Ajax, moved within six points of the third-placed Amsterdam club at the expense of Roda after this week’s win.

Iceland international Kolbeinn Sigthorsson broke a goal-less deadlock in the 52nd minute at Parkstad Limburg Stadion, the 20-year-old getting a header to Rasmus Elm’s free kick for his 11th goal of the season.

An error by Esteban Alvarado handed Roda an equaliser in the 72nd minute, the AZ goalkeeper fumbling while diving to trap a loose ball and gifting Denmark international Mads Junker the easiest of finishes.

But AZ were back in front two minutes later through Maarten Martens, whose scorching attempt from outside the area rocketed into the bottom-right corner.

Things only got worse for the hosts from there, with Pa Modou Kah sent off with a second caution for his front-on challenge on Australian Brett Holman as the game entered injury time.

Elsewhere, Heracles improved to three straight victories with a 4-1 dismantling of relegation-threatened Excelsior.

Excelsior were down to 10 men in the 23rd minute when Daan Bovenberg was sent off with a straight red, and it took just nine minutes for Mark-Jan Fledderus to capitalise on the advantage from the edge of the area.

Kwame Quansah (50) and Mark Looms (62) scored within 12 second-half minutes to put Heracles 3-0 up, before Guyon Fernandez pulled one back for the visitors in the 75th minute.

With the result all but decided substitute Heracles striker Glynor Plet added his own exclamation mark to the proceedings, finding the net in injury time for his first goal since October.

Finally, a last-gasp Daryl Janmaat goal ensured Heerenveen recorded a 1-1 draw at Vitesse Arnhem, ending their run of three straight losses.

On-loan Barcelona midfielder Marti Riverola nabbed his first-ever professional goal in the 43rd minute, the 20-year-old rising unmarked to nod home Michihiro Yasuda’s whipped-in cross for a 1-0 Vitesse lead.

But Janmaat saved Heerenveen’s blushes in the 87th minute, the Dutch midfielder’s third goal of the season stealing a point from the hosts.

 


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