by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Last week, AZ Alkmaar players walked off the pitch in protest during a Dutch Cup match. Their goalkeeper, Esteban, was given a red card for attacking a fan who ran on to the pitch and the penalty didn’t go down well with the team.
The team was trailing 1-0 to Ajax after 36 minutes at the Amsterdam Arena when the home fan ran on to the pitch and went straight for Esteban. But the Costa Rican goalie was too quick for the 19-year-old and put him down.
As the intruder was dragged away by security staff, referee, Bas Nijhuis gave 22-year-old Esteban his marching orders. The red card has since been rescinded by the Dutch FA (KNVB).
A statement read: ‘The keeper was attacked unexpectedly and therefore the prosecutor judged that his mood caused his response against his attacker.’
At the time, the official who gave Esteban a red card said: ‘I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away.’
Alkmaar coach, Gert Jan Verbeek ordered his side off and attempts to convince them to return failed. Toon Gerbrands, club director claimed ‘the players didn’t feel safe anymore in this situation.’
Ajax apologised to their opponents and insisted the pitch invader would be banned for life.
Culled from the Daily Mail UK.