Ajax move to top place

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Ajax Amsterdam moved to first place in the Dutch league on Sunday following a 3-2 win against 10-man Utrecht.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Ajax Amsterdam travelled to Utrecht on Sunday knowing that a good result at the Galgenwaard Stadium, combined with other matches going their way, could take them to the top of the Eredivisie. The visitors certainly started well, taking the lead in just the 7th minute. Wesley Sneijder took the free-kick but instead of booting it into the area, he set up Gabri who put little effort behind his shot at goal. Somehow however the ball trickled into the back of the net thanks to a defensive mix-up by Utrecht who just seemed to stand and watch. The home side dominated the early action but failed to equalise and instead it was Ajax who went into the break two-nil ahead thanks to a goal from Johnny Heitinga just before half-time. Once again the free-kick came from Sneijder, who this time booted the ball towards goal. The Utrecht 'keeper got a hand to the shot, but he deflected it away into the path of Heitinga who fired the ball into the back of the net. Utrecht however were given a chance to get back into the match in the 78th minute when they were awarded a penalty. Jaap Stam brought down Marc-Antoine Fortune just inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot, much to the Ajax players dismay. Gregoor van Dijk stepped forward to convert the spot-kick and it was now 2-1. Four minutes later however the Utrecht captain found himself taking an early bath when he received a red card for kicking Sneijder when he was down. The home side did not give in however despite being down to ten men and one minute later they levelled the score at 2-all thanks to a great goal from Fortune from a tight angle. Ajax's one man advantage soon told however as with three minutes to go they scored again. This time it was Kenneth Perez with a deft right-footed shot that beat the goalkeeper and sailed into the back of the net. Ajax held on to their 3-2 lead to the final whistle, a result that took them to first place in the Dutch league with 15 points. Az Alkmaar could only draw against ADO The Hague meaning they drop to second, a point behind Ajax, along with FC Groningen. (AP)

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