Mental scenes: AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado sent off for kicking pitch invader, Dutch Cup match v Ajax suspended

Esteban Alvarado made headlines round the world within minutes of attacking a pitch invader during AZ Alkmaar’s match at Ajax on Wednesday night in one of the craziest incidents on a football pitch in 2011, if not ever.

The New York Times described the Costa Rican custodian as a “goalkeeper gone wild” and after he had given the Ajax supporter a hefty kick, Alvarado was sent off much to the amazement and chagrin of the rest of the AZ Alkmaar team.

AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek then ordered his team off the pitch, leading to the KNVB Beker match to be suspended with Ajax having been 1-0 to the good in the 36th minute when the incident happened.

Referee Bas Nijhuis explained his decision to award a red card: “I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away.”

Alvarado has so far received plenty of support from around the world and Ajax boss Frank De Boer even defended the AZ stopper: “Maybe I would have done the same thing, maybe not. But emotionally I do understand it.”

The full incident that saw Esteban Alvarado attack the (drunk) pitch invader, receive a red card and AZ leave the pitch, is on this video.

A shorter video, just showing a different angle on Alvarado’s assault is here.

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