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Ajax held to a draw by arch-rivals

Yannis Anastasios, left, of Ajax and Karim Saidi battle for the ball

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) -- Dutch champions Ajax were held to a 1-1 draw by arch-rivals Feyenoord on Sunday, both sides losing further ground on leaders PSV Eindhoven.

Argentine Mauro Rosales fired Ajax into a 27th minute lead at the Amsterdam Arena.

Dirk Kuijt's 10th goal of the season, a superb volley from the edge of the area, hauled the Rotterdammers level a minute before the break and the second half was a dull affair with neither side showing enough attacking intent.

PSV, who beat Willem II Tilburg on Saturday, have 32 points from 12 games, five ahead of AZ Alkmaar. Feyenoord drop one place to third on 26 points with Ajax fourth on 22.

Ajax coach Ronald Koeman, under-fire over his side's domestic form and a stuttering Champions League campaign, was pleased by his team's performance but not satisfied with the result.

Koeman was forced to replace the injured Steven Pienaar and Nigel de Jong in the first half and his captain Rafael van der Vaart on the hour.

"Losing three internationals in this match were the reason for our poor second half," said Koeman.

"But this match gives us hope."

Feyenoord coach Ruud Gullit was also upbeat.

"My team still is improving and it pleases me that the defense hardly gave away any chances. I can live with this result," he said.

Playmaker van der Vaart, who has a knee injury, and de Jong (head) will miss the Netherlands' World Cup qualifier against Andorra on Wednesday.

Netherlands coach Marco van Basten called up Andre Ooijer and Barry van Galen as replacements for the game in Barcelona.

In a statement the Dutch FA (KNVB) said that the AZ Alkmaar midfielder Van Galen would replace van der Vaart and that PSV Eindhoven's Andre Ooijer will step in for de Jong.

The fixture is being held in the Catalan city at the request of the Dutch who cited security fears for not wanting to play in the tiny Pyrenean principality itself.

The Dutch previously played Andorra in March 2001 in a World Cup qualifier, beating them 5-0 in Barcelona.

Van Basten's side are sitting in third position in Group One with seven points from three games.

Andorra won their first ever match and secured their first points last month with Macedonia playing the role of fall-guys in the 1-0 World Cup defeat.

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