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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ajax Struggling After 50-Win String Snapped

LONDON -- After losing for the first time in 50 Dutch league games a week ago, Ajax had to battle from 3-2 down to gain a 3-3 tie at Sparta Rotterdam.


With five goals coming in the first half hour, the European Champions Cup titlist needed an equalizer Sunday from Peter Hoekstra, bought from PSV Eindhoven to replace the injured Marc Overmars, in the 62nd minute.


Earlier, Niko Jalink, Dennis Krijgsman and Dennis de Nooijer had netted for sixth place Sparta and Winston Bogarde and Arnold Scholten had scored for Ajax.


PSV, Ajax's main rival for the Dutch league title, overpowered fifth-placed SC Heerenveen 3-1 on Friday to keep the pressure on the Amsterdam club.


Roberto Baggio's second half penalty kept AC Milan atop the Italian standings Sunday in a 1-0 victory over Padova as second place Fiorentina, a point behind, won 3-0 at Torino.


Although Milan stretched its unbeaten run to 13 games, it will be feeling the heat from Fiorentina, who took Torino apart in the second half in the Delle Alpi stadium in Turin.


Argentine forward Gabriel Batistuta netted twice and now is joint top scorer in Serie A with Bari's Igor Protti with 13 goals. Francesco Baiano scored the other.


Milan has 37 points and Fiorentina 36 from 18 games while Parma remains third with 34 after a 2-0 victory over Atalanta of Bergamo. Defending champion Juventus, its mind more focused on winning the Champions League, is fourth with 29 after a 3-3 tie with Cremonese.


Real Madrid fired coach Jorge Valdano following its 2-1 loss Sunday at the hands of cross-town Rayo Vallecano.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)