Ajax and Groningen in command
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ajax thrashed Feyenoord, while Groningen stunned AZ in the Dutch play-offs.
Ajax thrashed Feyenoord, while Groningen stunned AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the Dutch play-offs for the UEFA Champions League.
The new format of the Dutch season means there is a play-off for the right to join champions PSV Eindhoven in next term's Champions League.
Ajax and Groningen look in pole position to meet each other in the final after beating Feyenoord 3-0 and AZ 3-1 respectively.
Feyenoord finished third in the regular season, but were given a pasting by fourth-placed Ajax in a stormy encounter at the Amsterdam Arena.
The hosts took the lead on 27 minutes through Mauro Rosales before Feyenoord had Andre Bahia sent off for a second yellow card on 62 minutes.
The numbers were evened up on 71 minutes when Ajax's Steven Pienaar was dismissed just six minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Johnny Heitinga put Ajax two goals to the good on 79 minutes and 60 seconds later Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored a third.
The visitors' misery was compounded when Romeo Castelen was red carded three minutes from time and Feyenoord now have a mountain to climb.
An 89th minute goal from Kew Jaliens has given AZ hope they can reach the play-off final after they slipped up at Groningen.
AZ finished runners-up to PSV, but were soundly beaten by a Groningen side who had pipped Utrecht for fifth spot.
Yuri Cornelisse put Groningen in front on 54 minutes and the lead was doubled on 83 minutes by Mark Fledderus.
Rasmus Lundgren added a third goal on 88 minutes before Jaliens replied with a goal which could yet prove crucial.