Dutch Cup game abandoned after goalkeeper kicks fan
The Costa Rican goalkeeper reacted to the assault from the Ajax fan by kicking the pitch invader to the ground. Referee Bas Nijhuis sent-off Esteban for violent conduct, prompting a furious reaction from the AZ players.
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek responded to the furore on the pitch by calling his players to leave for the dressing room for their own safety, forcing referee Nijhuis to abandon the game.
Ajax were leading 1-0 at the time with just 37 minutes of the first-half played.
Esteban had his red card rescinded by the Dutch FA (KNVB). The Dutch players’ union had demanded that the red card be withdrawn.
AZ technical director Earnest Stewart justified the actions of Verbeek: “The players do not feel safe anymore.”
Ajax’s financial director Jeroen Slop apologised on behalf of the club.
“This was a terrible incident and we deeply regret it and offer our sincere apologies.
“The supporter has been handed over to the police.
“It was a 19-year-old man who was probably under the influence of alcohol. He said he hated the AZ goalkeeper and had therefore attacked him.”
Slop also confirmed that the fan has received a lifetime ban from attending Ajax games.
KNVB (Dutch FA) director Bert van Oostveen expects a decision soon on the outcome of the game.
AZ confirmed that after the match goalkeeper Esteban reported his attacker to the police for attempted assault. AZ today filed the necessary reports to the Dutch FA and will now wait for the decisions to be made regarding Esteban’s red card and the continuation of the match.
Police are holding the unidentified fan on assault charges.
Picture:Getty ImagesTagged in: Ajax, AZ, football, KNVB Beker
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