RECAP: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Jozy Altidore was the only bright spot for AZ in their blowout loss to Heerenveen while Charles Kazlauskas missed Helmond's home loss to Emmen on card suspension.
SC Heerenveen 5 - 1 AZ Alkmaar
Jozy Altidore scored his ninth goal in all competitions for AZ on Sunday afternoon, temporarily bringing the team equal with Heerenveen before the hammer eventually fell, sending them to their worst loss of the season, and their first defeat after a 19-game unbeaten run.
Heerenveen wasted little time before putting their stamp on the game, after a pass from Jeffrey Gouweleeuw was headed on by Ramon Zomer directly to Bas Dost, who made no mistake in putting away the short finish.
Despite the early setback, the visitors fought back and equalized on a bullish goal by their American forward in the 20th minute. Altidore played a quick give-and-go with strike partner Brett Holman, finally receiving the ball near the penalty spot and powering through a trio of defenders before slotting home past Brian Vandenbussche.
The hosts re-took the lead for good 11 minutes later, quickly counter-attacking after an AZ corner, with Luciano Narsingh setting up Rajiv van la Parra for a low shot that put Heerenveen back into the lead.
Moments after the halftime break, they increased their lead, with Gouweleeuw picking out Filip Djuricic on a long pass for 3-1, then setting up Zomer at the edge of the six-yard box three minutes later for the team's fourth.
Not yet satisfied with their explosive output, the hosts added one more goal for good measure in the 74th minute, as Swiss veteran Viktor Elm sent Narsingh through into a one-on-one with Esteban Alvarado, which the attacker won with a stylish lob over the keeper.
With second-place Eindhoven also falling during the weekend, AZ maintain their three-point lead atop the Eredivisie standings with one game still in hand. They will visit Excelsior Rotterdam on Wednesday in a make-up game, then host De Graafschap Doetinchem three days later.
Charles Kazlauskas is suspended after picking up a pair of yellow cards in Helmond Sport's previous outing, and did not participate in their 1-0 loss at home to FC Emmen on Friday evening.