AMSTERDAM, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam thrashed 10-man AZ Alkmaar 6-1 to leap over bitter rivals Feyenoord into second place in the Dutch league on Sunday.
PSV Eindhoven, 1-0 winners at Feyenoord on Saturday, are top with 39 points after 18 matches, three points ahead of Ajax, Feyenoord and Groningen, who have played 19.
Brazilian Ari opened the scoring for Alkmaar after five minutes when he netted a rebound from close in after Mounir El Hamdaoui hit the post.
Midway through the first half Jan Vertonghen equalised and on the stroke of halftime Alkmaar's Demy de Zeeuw was sent off for handball on the line with Kenneth Perez, back at Ajax after six months with PSV, converting the penalty.
After an hour, Klaas Jan Huntelaar put the outcome beyond doubt and Kennedy Bakircioglu, Leonardo and Huntelaar, with his second goal, completed the root.
At Utrecht, a penalty save ten minutes before the final whistle by the home side's keeper Michel Vorm from Gerald Sibon salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw with Heerenveen.
An early free kick from Danijel Pranjic and a goal from Michael Bradley put Heerenveen 2-0 ahead but second half goals from Alje Schut and Sander Keller levelled the score.
Santi Kolk struck twice to earn Vitesse Arnhem a 3-0 derby win at neighbours Graafschap Doetinchem, while Kwame Quansah and Ricky van den Bergh scored either side of the interval to hand Heracles Almelo a 2-0 home victory over Sparta Rotterdam.