Substitute Nikos Machlas scored a goal four minutes from time as AFC Ajax claimed a dramatic 4-3 victory over struggling FC Groningen at the Amsterdam ArenA tonight.
Five points clear
Eredivisie leaders Ajax are now five points clear of Feyenoord, although they have played two games more. The Amsterdam side had to battle all the way, twice going behind to their relegation-threatened opponents.
Groningen took the lead in the 13th minute when Sander van Gessel picked up the ball just inside the Ajax half, before going past defender Hatem Trabelsi and slotting beyond goalkeeper Fred Grim. Ajax hit back when Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' netted in the 41st minute, firing home from just inside the area.
Tuhuteru on target
Mido got Ajax off to a great start in the second-half when he scored his second of the match after 56 minutes, striking home from a Maxwell pass. But the visitors were level four minutes later through Arjen Robben's solo effort, and were ahead once more nine minutes later as Ignacio Tuhuteru scored with a header from close range.
Late Machlas winner
But the lead lasted little more than a minute when Machlas, on as a 55th-minute substitute, pulled Ajax back on level terms in the 71st minute, scoring from inside the area. Just as it seemed Ajax were going to hand the title initiative over to rivals Feyenoord, Machlas scored his second after a deflected shot by Maxwell was not cleared. Abubakari Yakubu was dismissed for his second booking for the home side in the 88th minute, but they managed to hang on to three vital points.
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