AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban kicks a man who attacked him from behind during the Dutch Cup match at Ajax.

Story highlights

AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper is sent off after fighting back against a pitch invader

Dutch Cup game at Amsterdam Arena is called off after only 37 minutes

Alkmaar coach takes his players off the field due to safety concerns

Ajax official says the 19-year-old supporter has been handed to police

CNN  — 

A football fan has been arrested after a bizarre attack on a team’s goalkeeper which forced Wednesday’s Dutch Cup match between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar to be called off before halftime.

Costa Rica international Esteban Alvarado fought back against a pitch invader in the 37th minute of the match, and was sent off by the referee for kicking the 19-year-old to the ground.

Referee Bas Nijhuis ended the match prematurely, with Ajax leading 1-0, after Alkmaar coach Gertjan Verbeek took his players off the field.

“This was a terrible incident and we deeply regret it and offer our sincere apologies,” Ajax’s financial director Jeroen Slop told the Amsterdam club’s website.

“The supporter has been handed over to the police. It was a 19-year-old man who was probably under the influence of alcohol. He said he hated the AZ goalkeeper and had therefore attacked him.”

Slop said Ajax had tried to reassure the visiting team, but they left the ground.

“Ajax offered to put additional stewards around the pitch to ensure their safety and play the game but AZ stuck to their decision,” he said.

The Dutch FA released a statement saying it was waiting on a report from its prosecutor of football before taking any action.

“There are three options: the game is completed, the game is replayed, or the respective position is regarded as the final score,” it said.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer was bemused by the chain of events.

“I don’t know how I would react in a situation like that, because I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said.

“It’s a strange, sad close to 2011. The first half of the season is suddenly over. I wished all of the players happy holidays and told them I’d see them again on January 3rd. It’s just very sad.”