AZ Alkmaar has increased the pressure on second-placed Ajax after a 2-1 win at Excelsior.

The visitors were looking for revenge after Excelsior came away from Alkmaar with a surprise 2-0 win earlier in the season.

Both sides created several chances in the opening minutes but it was AZ who took the lead after 20 minutes. A strike by Alireza Jahnbakhsh was worked into his own net by goalkeeper Theo Zwarthoed.

Excelsior came close to equalising through Ali Messaoud but his effort was kept out by Marco Bizot. Just before the break, Jahanbakhsh made it 2-0 for AZ with another strike that proved too much for Zwarthoed.

On 64 minutes, Messaoud did beat Bizot after a fine pass by Levi Garcia to make it 2-1. However, AZ held on for the three points, which moves them to within two points of Ajax. Excelsior stay 12th.

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