Ajax and AZ set for showdown in Eredivisie

May 13, 2007 - 4:34 PM Special to PA SportsTicker

Ajax and AZ Alkmaar will contest the playoff final to determine who will join Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in next year's Champions League.

The two clubs had featured in a thrilling three-way fight for the Eredivisie crown which was won on the last day by PSV.

AZ and Ajax have already contested the KNVB-Beker final, won on penalties by the Amsterdammers, but now arguably an even more important prize will be at stake.

Ajax thrashed Heerenveen 4-0 to seal a 4-1 aggregate semifinal win in their play-off. First-half goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ryan Babel saw Henk ten Cate's men take a 2-0 interval lead.

Then Huntelaar made it 3-0 from the spot after an incident that saw Heerenveen goalkeeper Brian Vandenbussche sent off.

Kenneth Perez added a late fourth for the Amsterdammers. AZ beat FC Twente 2-0 to clinch a 3-1 aggregate win.

Tim de Cler broke the deadlock after 74 minutes before Jermain Lens' late clincher for Louis van Gaal's side.

In the UEFA Cup play-offs, Feyenoord's dismal campaign ended with a defeat at the hands of FC Groningen.

Ron Jans and his men were defending a 2-1 lead against the Rotterdam giants but Pierre van Hooijdonk levelled the aggregate scores with an early goal.

Goran Lovre netted in the second half for Groningen who will now play FC Utrecht for the last UEFA Cup berth.

It has been a dreadful season for Feyenoord who finished seventh, were thrown out of the UEFA Cup for crowd misbehaviour and whose coach Erwin Koeman recently stood down. NEC Nijmegen beat Sparta Rotterdam 2-1 to earn a 3-2 aggregate win in their Intertoto playoff first round tie.

Danny Schenkel opened the scoring for Sparta but Peter Wisgerhof equalised before Patrick Pothuizen's late strike.

Finally, RKC Waalwijk drew level on aggregate to take their promotion/relegation playoff tie to a third game.

RKC's 2-0 second-leg win levelled the aggregate scores at 2-2. Dordrecht won a penalty shootout 4-3 to take home advantage for the decider.

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