Ajax cruise back to top spot after emotional Cruyff tribute

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam returned to the top of the Dutch league after a comfortable 3-0 home victory over PEC Zwolle on Sunday, the first match they had played since the death of club hero Johan Cruyff.

The victory moved Ajax to 71 points from 29 matches, two ahead of second-placed PSV Eindhoven, with five rounds of matches still to play.

There were emotional scenes at the Amsterdam Arena ahead of the game as Cruyff, who died aged 68 on March 24 after a battle with lung cancer, was remembered with giant replicas of his Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands national team jerseys laid out on the pitch.

The home side rose to the occasion in honour of the country’s greatest ever player as they netted three goals inside the opening 40 minutes in a dominant performance.

Danish forward Lasse Schoene headed them in front before Polish striker Arek Milik took his league tally for the season to 18 with two more well-taken goals.

Groningen ended a run of six straight defeats as they won 1-0 at ADO Den Haag despite playing for 60 minutes with 10 men. Swedish midfielder Rasmus Lindgren grabbed his first goal of the campaign.

Midfielder Branco van den Boomen also opened his account for the season with an injury-time winner as Heerenveen won 2-1 at Roda JC.

NEC Nijmegen kept alive their hopes of a top-seven finish and a place in the Europa League playoffs with a 2-1 home win over Vitesse Arnhem.

NEC are now level on points with seventh-placed Vitesse but are behind on goal difference.

(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source Reuters

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