AZ Alkmaar’s excellent run of form came to an end on Saturday with Marco Bizot’s early red card leading to a crushing 3-0 defeat to struggling Sparta Rotterdam.

Sparta headed into the game on the back of three without a victory, while AZ were in unstoppable form and their win over Ajax last weekend moved them joint top. There seemed only one winner on paper.

However, in the fifth minute it went wrong for AZ with Marco Bizot shown a straight red card for a last man challenge on Ragner Ache outside the box.

From that point the hosts were dominant and the opening goal came ten minutes after the red card. Adil Auassar found space in midfield, drove forward and fired a great strike past substitute Rody de Boer.

On the half-hour mark, Sparta doubled their lead as Bryan Smeets benefited from a lucky bounce off Jordy Clasie before firing the ball into the net.

After the break, Sparta continued to dominate with Abdou Harroui hitting the crossbar while Ache was denied by De Boer. In the 55th minute, Clasie conceded a spot-kick and Halil Dervisoglu scored from the spot to make it 3-0.

Before the end, Ache also had the ball in the net but the striker was well offside.

A tough evening for AZ, who head into the winter break on the back of a defeat. Sparta, however, rise to 10th.

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