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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Wesley Sneijder was sent off after just 12 minutes as Ajax Amsterdam crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch league on Sunday.
Sneijder was shown a straight red card for verbal abuse amd Ajax held out until 10 minutes before halftime when Yuri Rose opened the scoring for Sparta with a diving header.
Sjaak Polak made it 2-0 from the penalty spot on the hour and Haris Medunjanin sealed 16th-placed Sparta's third straight win six minutes before time with a curling free kick.
Ajax's defeat allowed AZ Alkmaar to climb into second place behind PSV Eindhoven after a 3-1 Sunday success at Heerenveen.
Skota Arveladze (27), Danny Koevermans (81) and Maarten Martens, five minutes from time, were on target after Afonso Alves gave Heerenveen the lead after 20 minutes.
NEC Nijmegen hit four second half goals to sink Feyenoord 4-1.
Brett Holman broke the deadlock eight minutes after the interval after he rounded his marker and gave Feyenoord goalkeeper Henk Timmer no chance.
Chris Eagles, on loan from Manchester United, added the second 10 minutes from time and Dominique Kivuvu (83) and Andrzej Niedzielan, three minutes later, were also on target.
An own goal by Patrick Pothuizen in time added on was scant consolation for Feyenoord who remain fifth with 26 points. NEC climbed to 12th.
Santi Kolk scored twice as ADO Den Haag shocked Groningen with a 5-2 away victory to climb off the foot of the table on goal difference from RKC Waalwijk.
Ajax striker Kenneth Perez has apologised for racially abusing a linesman during the match against Twente Enschede last week.
"I regret what I said...Everyone who knows me, knows I am not a racist," Perez told Talpa TV on Sunday, adding the incident happened in the heat of the moment.
Perez was accused of the racial abuse in an article in the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper on Saturday.
A Dutch soccer league spokesman said that they will examine the case on Monday before the prosecutor decides if action will be taken against the striker.
In a statement on the Ajax Web site Perez said he will give a financial contribution to charity and stage a soccer clinic in an Amsterdam neighbourhood with a big ethnic population.
Sent-off Sneijder's contribution for Ajax at Sparta lasted all of 12 minutes.