AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban has red card for kicking a fan rescinded

Esteban Alvarado

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Goalkeeper sent off for kicking pitch invader

A goalkeeper who was sent off after kicking a fan has had his red card rescinded.

Wednesday's last-16 tie in the Dutch Cup between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar was abandoned after 38 minutes with Ajax leading 1-0 when a fan ran towards Alkmaar's Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado.

The goalkeeper kicked the fan in retaliation after being kicked himself - but was given a red card for misconduct.

Alkmaar's furious coach Gert Jan Verbeek ordered his team to leave the pitch.

The red card has now been rescinded by the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) and the match will now be replayed in full behind closed doors on 19 January.

The eventual winners will play third tier side GVVV in the quarter-finals.

The KNVB said in a statement: "The keeper was attacked unexpectedly and therefore the prosecutor judged that his mood caused his response against his attacker."

Alkmaar's technical director Earnest Stewart said: "Verbeek ordered the team off the pitch to control the situation and, in the dressing room, our players said they don't feel safe anymore on the pitch."

An Ajax official said that the police arrested a 19-year-old man.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer said: "I saw that Esteban was attacked and that he defended himself.

"I don't know how I would have reacted but I can understand Esteban with his South American temper. I understand the decision of Alkmaar because of all the emotion at that moment."

Referee Bas Nijhuis had defended his decision to show Esteban a red card.

"I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times," Nijhuis said.

"He could also have walked away."

Alkmaar director Toon Gebrands said the club would respect any decision taken by the disciplinary board of the KNVB but that the safety of his players was at stake.