Alkmaar four clear after Ajax and Twente slip up

ROTTERDAM - AZ Alkmaar cruised to a 3-1 win at VVV Venlo to extend their lead in the Dutch league on Sunday as Ajax Amsterdam and Twente Enschede dropped points.

Swede Rasmus Elm (pictured) put Alkmaar ahead after 32 minutes when he curled a free-kick round the wall and then set up Adam Maher on the hour to double the lead.

Simon Poulsen sealed the win before Robert Cullen scored a consolation goal for VVV in injury time after Ahmed Musa missed a penalty.

Alkmaar are top with 21 points after eight matches, four more than PSV Eindhoven, who moved into second following a 2-0 win at NEC Nijmegen with late goals from Zakaria Labyad and Tim Matavz.

Twente slipped to third as Luuk de Jong salvaged a 2-2 draw with a last-minute header at home to winless bottom side Excelsior Rotterdam, who clinched their second point.

Ola John put Twente ahead after 34 minutes but Excelsior substitute Darren Maatsen turned the match around with goals in the 85th and 86th minutes though it was not enough for their first win.

Champions Ajax suffered their first defeat since March 20, losing 1-0 at Groningen to lie fourth.

Leandro Bacuna converted a 62th-minute penalty after a handball from Gregory van der Wiel, who was sent off for a second booking.

Feyenoord endured their second straight defeat in a 3-0 reverse at home to ADO Den Haag.