In an Eredivisie weekend littered with late goals, Ajax become the first team to take all three points away from the Philips Stadium, AZ climb above Feyenoord and Vitesse record a fifth win in five, writes Neil Adderley.
FC Dordrecht 2 – 1 Go Ahead Eagles: Battling Dordrecht refuse to give up the fight
A last minute Sean Klaiber header secured all three points for Dordrecht and caretaker manager Dennis de Nooijer.
Go Ahead striker Glynor Plet had given the visitors a deserved lead on the half hour mark, but a deflected Jeffry Fortes strike brought the sides level on the stroke of half time.
It seemed Dordrecht, who took the game to Go Ahead in the second half, would have to settle for a point.
However, with 91 minutes on the clock, Sean Klaiber connected with a hopeful deep cross to beat Eagles keeper Mickey van der Hart.
Vitesse Arnhem 2 – 1 PEC Zwolle: Five in a row for flying Vitesse
Goals from Bertrand Traore and Davy Propper gave in form Vitesse a fifth win in a row but not before falling behind to an early Mustafa Saymak diving header.
Traore’s 35th minute volley brought the sides level and Vitesse should have gone into the break ahead, however, Marko Vejinovic could only fire a penalty over Warner Hahn’s bar.
PEC almost restored a lead when Bert van Hintum struck the bar but it was left to Davy Propper, making his 125th appearance, to seal the win for the home side.
AZ Alkmaar 2 – 0 Willem II: AZ climb to third with sixth win in seven games
Goals in each half from Steven Berghuis and Dabney dos Santos ensured AZ’s rich vein of form continued at the AFAS Stadion.
Willem II had the better of the opening exchanges but couldn’t find a way past Esteban Alvarado.
The AZ keeper denying both Terell Ondaan and Jerson Cabral before a Ali Messaoud header came back of the bar.
Willem II were left ruing those missed opportunities when, on the stroke of halftime, Steven Berghuis’ low left foot drive gave the home side the lead against the run of pay.
A second half Guus Hupperts header almost doubled AZ’s advantage but his effort struck the bar, and it was left to dos Santos to finally wrap up the points with a goal deep into injury time.
AZ climb above Feyenoord and into third, while Willem II remain in a very respectable tenth in the table.
FC Twente 1 – 1 NAC Breda: Twente’s form crisis continues
FC Twente have now gone five games without a win as relegation haunted NAC Breda secured a vital point at the Grolsche Veste.
Despite a 6th minute Luc Castaignos strike, the lack of confidence from both the players and home supporters allowed NAC a foothold in the game.
And only a tremendous Sonny Stevens save from Mats Suetjens denied the visitors a deserved first half equaliser.
There were chances for both teams after the break with Stevens again denying NAC before Castaignos failed to convert when faced with Breda keeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar.
NAC eventually secured a deserved point with just a minute on the clock as Erik Falkenburg beat defender Robbert Schilder before firing past Stevens.
Twente remain in a disappointing eighth place as the pressure builds on trainer Alfred Schreuder, while a point leaves NAC just four point above bottom side Dordrecht.
Cambuur Leeuwarden 1 – 0 Heracles Almelo: European play-offs back on the Cambuur agenda
Cambuur, who had lost five of the last six, stopped the rot with a tight win over struggling Heracles.
The home side started brightly and were denied an early opener after a smart stop from Bram Castro before striker Sander van de Streek struck the Heracles upright.
And it was van de Streek who gave Cambuur the lead with a curling effort after good work from Etienne Reijnen.
Heracles failed to test Cambuur until Bryan Linssen’s header was kept out by Leonard Nienhuis.
Cambuur’s European play-off dream remains intact, while Heracles find themselves only two points clear of the danger zone.
Excelsior 3 – 0 Heerenveen: Dominant Excelsior continue to progress
Luigi Bruins struck after only five minutes and Excelsior never looked back at Stadion Woudestein. Heerenveen travelled to Rotterdam with an injury hit squad and Dwight Lodeweges’ side couldn’t recover from a poor start.
Dutch cup semi-finalists Excelsior dominated throughout and should have doubled their lead when Daryl van Mieghem was denied by Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
The Swedish international keeper was eventually beaten by in-form Tom Van Weert, whose excellent near post strike left Nordfeldt helpless.
Heerenveen rarely threatened and Excelsior secured all three points with a Kevin Vermeulen piledriver in injury time.
FC Utrecht 0 – 0 Feyenoord: Hectic week takes its toll on Feyenoord
Coming on the back of a Europa League exit at the hands of Roma, and with news breaking of manager Fred Rutten’s end of season departure, a chaotic week for Feyenoord came to an end with a scoreless draw at Stadion Galgenwaard.
Unsurprisingly, the visitors failed to lift themselves, and it was Utrecht who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half.
Christian Kum should have done better than firing over before Feyenoord defender Terence Kongolo cleared off the line from Sebastian Haller.
A point means Utrecht remain in twelfth, while Feyenoord, with huge question marks concerning manager Rutten, slip down to fourth in the Eredivisie.
FC Groningen 1 – 1 ADO Den Haag: Last ditch ADO rescue point at the Euroborg
Groningen missed a host of chances, including a penalty, and ADO substitute Xander Houtkoop made the home side pay with the very last kick of the game.
ADO more than held their own in a poor first half in which both sides failed to threaten.
The second half exploded into action as referee, Jeroen Manschot, infuriated the ADO players by giving the softest of penalties after minimal contact between Vito Wormgoor and Groningen’s Tjarron Chery.
However, Nick van der Velden’s woeful effort was easily stopped by ADO keeper Martin Hansen.
The travelling ADO fans barely had a chance to celebrate the save as, within two minutes of the first penalty kick, referee Manschot again pointed to the spot after Timothy Derijk was harshly adjudged to have handled in the area.
Unlike van der Velden, Chery made no mistake from 12 yards to give Groningen the lead.
Both Chery and Mimoun Mahi then failed to convert glorious opportunities for the home team, and with 95 minutes on the clock, Xander Houtkoop fired a low shot through a forest of legs to earn ADO an unlikely point.
PSV Eindhoven 1 – 3 Ajax: Ajax restore pride with impressive victory
The Eredivisie title was all but in the hands of PSV before this one, however, Ajax showed they are willing to fight to the death before handing the title over to Eindhoven.
PSV began in the style of champions elect, with only Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen coming between them and an early lead.
Cillessen denying Luciano Narsingh, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum in quick succession.
But when Anwar El Ghazi found Ricardo Kishna at the far post, the Ajax winger made no mistake to give the Amsterdammers an unlikely lead.
PSV pushed for the equaliser but it was Ajax who almost doubled their lead when Lasse Schoene rattled the crossbar with a 30 yard free kick.
PSV immediately countered and when Jetro Willems found Luuk de Jong, the striker powered a header past Cillessen to level the scores.
Depay went close with a curling effort as PSV looked the more likely but when another Schoene free-kick deflected off Jurgen Locadia and past Jeroen Zoet, it was Ajax who restored their lead.
And in injury time, El Ghazi sealed an excellent Ajax victory after beating Nicolas Isimat Marin before leaving Zoet helpless in the PSV goal.
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