(CNN) -- Ajax moved up to second place in the Eredivisie after a 6-1 hammering of 10-man AZ Alkmaar.
Leonardo heads home for Ajax during their 6-1 thrashing of AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.
AZ coach Louis van Gaal, competing against his former employers, watched his side go ahead after five minutes through Ari Ferreira but they were then swamped, although they were not helped by the 43rd-minute dismissal of defender Demy De Zeeuw.
By then Jan Vertonghen had equalised for Ajax and the hosts went ahead when Kenneth Perez scored with a penalty, the spot-kick coming about for a deliberate handball by De Zeeuw, an offense for which he saw red.
The 10 men put up little resistance in the second half, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring twice to add to efforts from Kennedy Bakircioglu and Leonardo.
The victory moved Ajax up to second place on goal difference from Feyenoord and Groningen with all three sides on 36 points, three behind leaders PSV Eindhoven.
Heerenveen remained in seventh after a 2-2 draw at Utrecht. Vitesse Arnhem enjoyed a 3-0 win at De Graafschap and Heracles put vital distance between themselves and the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over struggling Sparta Rotterdam. E-mail to a friend