A Guus Til strike in the second half gave AZ Alkmaar a deserved 1-0 victory over Ajax in the AFAS Stadion.

With PSV scraping a win against VVV earlier on Sunday, Ajax knew a victory would put them back within two points of the leaders ahead of their clash at the end of the month. However, AZ was looking to move level with Feyenoord in third and earn their first win over a top three side since 2016..

Ajax welcomed Frenkie de Jong and Hakim Ziyech back into the starting line-up but the latter was forced off midway through the first half after going down injured.

AZ took the game to Ajax from the start and Oussama Idrissi got two great chances to give them a lead. However, his first shot was kept out by Andre Onana, while his second was blasted over the bar.

Chances for Ajax were few and far between but before the break, Donny van de Beek’s effort was cleared off the line by Ron Vlaar.

AZ continued to press in the second half and Calvin Stengs twice went close to netting the opener. Finally on 56 minutes the hosts had the lead when a corner caused chaos in the box and Guus Til hooked the ball past Onana.

Noa Lang, who made a big difference in Ajax’s win over PEC Zwolle in midweek was brought on for Lasse Schone, but it was AZ who continued to create chances. Stengs got himself in a good position but shot straight at Onana.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar for David Neres was Ajax’s third change and the striker almost scored the equaliser in the 75th minute but Marco Bizot got a hand to his header and kept it out. The AZ goalkeeper was at full stretch minutes later to deny Noussair Mazraoui.

With ten minutes to go, Idrissi got the chance to seal the game for AZ when he raced through one-on-one with Onana but the goalkeeper kept out the Moroccan’s effort.

Ajax threw bodies forward but could not find an equaliser while AZ could have added more goals on the counter attack. In the end the score stayed 1-0 to the hosts.

The victory lifts AZ level on points with third placed Feyenoord while Ajax are five points behind PSV heading into their clash in Amsterdam later this month.

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