Ajax escapes against AZ
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored the late Ajax equaliser
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands ● Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s 83rd-minute equaliser rescued a point for Eredivisie defending champions Ajax after they could only draw 2-2 with a spirited AZ Alkmaar side.
They looked like they were well on their way to the perfect start to their campaign when Gregory van der Wiel’s explosive 25-yard strike rocketed past AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado but two goals in three minutes changed the complexion of the game.
Jozy Altidore took the ball past defender Toby Alderweireld to go one on one with Ajax keeper Kenneth Vermeer before slotting home three minutes after the interval and AZ went ahead almost straight after when the United States striker fired into the roof of the net.
Stunned into action, Ajax had several chances to level but it was not until seven minutes from time that they managed to do so when Sigthorsson’s delightful bicycle kick from Jody Lukoki’s cross ensured honours finished even.
Feyenoord opened their Eredivisie campaign with a victory over FC Utrecht, while Twente and NEC also got off to winning starts.
Ronald Koeman’s team, who finished second behind champions Ajax last season, edged hosts Utrecht 1-0 courtesy of a 39th-minute header from Sekou Cisse at Stadion Galgenwaard.
Utrecht created a number of opportunities inside the opening 15 minutes but failed to convert one, paying full price for their profligacy.
Ruben Shaken delivered a measured cross to Cisse and the Ivorian rose above the Utrecht defence to head the ball home and ensure Feyenoord of the ideal start to the 2012-13 campaign.
Dusan Tadic came back to haunt former club Groningen as Twente ran out 4-1 winners at De Grolsch Veste Enschede.
The Serbian midfielder joined from Groningen on a three-year deal in July and he played a leading role in their demise on Sunday, setting up two goals and scoring two of his own.
Nacer Chadli broke the deadlock in the 30th minute before Tadic doubled Twente’s lead moments later.
Chadli completed his brace nine minutes into the second half, with Tadic bagging his second on 71 minutes, before Leandro Bacuna pulled a goal back for the visitors.
Elsewhere on Sunday, NEC scored two first-half goals through Melvin Platje and Pavel Cmovs to record a comfortable 2-0 win at Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen, while Vitesse and ADO Den Haag played out a 2-2 draw.