AZ held to a 1-1 draw by FC Utrecht
Third-placed AZ Alkmaar failed to take the opportunity to leapfrog Ajax in the Eredivisie table after a 1-1 draw at the Stadion Galgenwaard in the first game back after the mid-season break.
In their last match back in December, John van den Brom's men had beaten Heerenveen at home 3-1, while Utrecht had lost at NAC Breda by the same scoreline.
In the first half, there were few chances for both sides. Sander van de Streek shot just wide for the home team in the eighth minute, while David Jensen stopped Guus Til's 17th minute strike from inside the box.
AZ captain Wout Weghorst failed to take advantage of a misunderstanding between goalkeeper David Jensen and Yassine Ayoub, as he mis-cued his shot shortly before the half-hour mark.
Just at the start of the second half, Utrecht almost opened the scoring - after Marco Bizot saved Mark van der Maarel's shot from distance, Zakaria Labyad was unable to tap in.
And five minutes later, Utrecht were punished when Jonas Svensson beat Jensen with a powerful strike from just outside the box.
Weghorst wasted another golden chance 15 minutes later, but all alone in front of Jensen, he was not able to control the ball.
Shortly after that missed chance, Utrecht found the equaliser - Cyril Dessers, who came on for Urby Emanuelson in the 56th minute, calmly beat Bizot following Gyrano Genk's pass from the left.
The home side tried to press forward for a second in the closing minutes, but couldn't find a late winner as the match finished 1-1.
AZ sit third on 39 points, two behind second-placed Ajax, while Utrecht are sixth on 29 points.