A last 16 cup tie between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar was abandoned on Wednesday night after a supporter ran on to the pitch and attacked Alkmaar keeper Esteban. This moron attempted some kind of malcoordinated kung fu move on the Costa Rican stopper before clumsily tumbling to the ground and taking a kick or two in retaliation. Luckily for him, he was carted away by the stewards before he got the proper kicking he deserved. It’s just shame is he didn’t get a mouthful of Esteban’s studs, with the former Saprissa keeper unable to render the damage he was well within his rights to exact before others intervened.
Astonishingly, instead of congratulating Esteban for doing the right thing, referee Bas Nijhuis sent him for an early bath. Playing things by the book or not, you should not be sent packing for defending yourself. Anybody setting foot on the pitch when they shouldn’t waives all rights to any kind of protection as far as I am concerned and knowing that this addlepate won’t be attending too many matches in the future, doesn’t quite seem enough. It’s fairly safe to assume that most of us would have been delighted to see this “supporter” take a battering from all 22 players and the ref before being hauled off and handed over to the authorities for their turn.
You also have to take your hat off to Alkmaar coach Gert Jan Verbeek for his reaction to the incident. Agog at seeing his goalkeeper dismissed for his heroic act, Verbeek decided his only option was to order his players off the pitch. Fair play. If the safety of those on the pitch can’t be guaranteed, you’re left with little choice. And although some might consider it a somewhat drastic retort, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. It was a fitting response to an outrageous decision. But I think I speak for everyone when I say, it’s such a shame we didn’t get to see Esteban tear that pucciach’ apart.