Ajax succumb to bogey side Utrecht, PSV held at home by Roda, and Feyenoord cling on to point at Groningen. Meanwhile, Cambuur finally break an eight month winless streak, writes Neil Adderley.
Heerenveen 2 v 1 Excelsior: Frisians up to tenth with comfortable win
Heerenveen eased past a disappointing Excelsior with goals in each half from Kenny Otigba and Sam Larsson.
The margin of victory would have been greater only for a string of saves from Tom Muyters.
The Excelsior keeper denied the dominant hosts on numerous occasions, however, Muyters was left helpless as Otigba finished from close range on 22 minutes.
And Heerenveen’s dominance was again rewarded when Larsson hit a 55th minute dipping shot that deceived Muyters.
A last minute Jeff Stans’ penalty was as good as it got for the visitors, but it was no more than a consolation on a comfortable night for Heerenveen.
ADO Den Haag 1 v 1 Willem II: Ten man ADO hold on for a point
Despite playing the final 35 minutes with ten men, the hosts held firm at a wind swept Kyocera Stadium.
Both sides struggled to deal with the conditions, but it was ADO who broke the deadlock with a deflected Kevin Jansen strike on 33 minutes.
Willem II struggled to seriously test the ADO back four, but the game was turned on it’s head on 55 minutes when Dion Malone hauled down Lucas Anderson in the penalty box.
Malone was shown red before Nick van der Velden restored parity from 12 yards.
Despite being reduced to ten men, ADO kept Willem II at bay and Henk Frazer’s men held on for a share of the spoils.
PSV Eindhoven 1 v 1 Roda JC: Propper rescues point for champions
While manager Phillip Cocu refused to use the midweek Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow as an excuse, it was a case of after the lord mayor’s show for PSV as lowly Roda gave the champions a scare in Eindhoven.
Roda held more than their own in an even first half, and were unfortunate not to go ahead when Hicham Faik was left oneonone with the keeper, but failed to beat Jeroen Zoet.
However, the visitors shocked the champions just 6 minutes into the second half as a Edwin Gyasi cross was flicked home by Tomi Juric.
The goal shook PSV into action and the home fans’ nerves were settled on 75 minutes as Davy Propper rose highest to divert a Andres Guardado free kick into the Roda net.
Despite coming under late pressure, Roda stood strong to claim a deserved and invaluable point at the home of the reigning champions.
Cambuur Leeuwarden 3 v 1 NEC Nijmegen: Cambuur finally end unwanted winless streak
Henk de Jong’s Cambuur overcame NEC to finally bring their horrendous winless run to an end.
Without a victory all season, part of a winless run going back to April, Cambuur battled their way past both NEC and the elements, at a stormy Cambuur Stadion.
Striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, arriving at the back post to force home a corner, put the hosts on their way after 22 minutes. But the joy was short lived as defender Xander Houtkoop put past his own keeper to bring the sides level.
However, with the second period barely underway, Ogbeche was again on hand to restore the hosts’ lead.
And it was another own goal, this time by NEC’s Christian Santos, that finally settled the game and hand Cambuur a first league win in eight long months.
Twente 2 v 1 De Graafschap: Late Ziyech winner for ten man Twente
Twente claimed a last gasp win thanks to talisman Hakim Ziyech.
A strong start for the home side came to an abrupt halt when Nick Marsman was harshly adjudged to have brought down Nathan Kabasele in the box.
And to add insult to injury the Twente keeper was shown a straight red, before Andrew Driver fired home a rebound after Cas Peters had struck the upright with the spot kick.
Given Twente’s struggles this season, you’d have been forgiven for thinking Rene Hake’s men would lie down for De Graafschap.
However, the injustice galvanised the Tukkers and Joachim Andersen converted from a Ziyech free kick to level the scores just two minutes later.
The ten men took the game to the visitors and should have been in front long before Jari Oosterwijk passed up a great opportunity on 75 minutes.
The big striker failing to beat De Graafschap keeper Hidde Jurjus when put clean through on goal.
Despite a man advantage, De Graafschap attacked sporadically, although substitute keeper Joel Drommel was brought into action when spectacularly denying Karim Tarfi.
With the clock ticking down, and game stretched, an unmarked Ziyech picked up the ball on the left before slamming the ball past Jurjus to give Twente a deserved injury time winner.
Utrecht 1 v 0 Ajax: Utrecht bogey continues for Ajax
Ajax’ annual struggle against bogey team Utrecht continued as an 87th minute Yassin Ayoub strike sealed the win at the Galgenwaard.
There was little to separate the sides in a cagey affair, but the home team will feel they had done just enough to take all the points.
With both keeper’s rarely tested, in what became a tactical battle, it was Utrecht’s pressing that unsettled Frank de Boer’s men.
And as the game petered out towards a scoreless draw, a slick passing move between Bart Ramselaar and Ayoub finally opened Ajax up.
And the diminutive Dutch u21 midfielder found enough space to guide home an 87th minute winner and deliver Ajax only a second reverse of the season.
Groningen 1 v 1 Feyenoord: Groningen denied by Dirk Kuijt equaliser
Feyenoord may have failed to take full advantage of PSV and Ajax dropping points, but the Rotterdammers will be satisfied with a draw after an excellent performance by opponents Groningen
The hosts, showing little respect for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his title chasing visitors, deservedly grabbed a 25th minute lead.
Michael de Leeuw scoring on the follow up after an Hedwiges Maduro header had came back of a post.
Fortunate to go in at half time only one goal down, Feyenoord responded almost immediately after the break when Kuijt converted a Jens Toornstra cross to level matters.
But within three minutes of the equaliser, Feyenoord were reduced to ten men after defender JanArie van der Heijden was shown red for a professional foul on Jesper Drost.
Groningen pushed for a winner but found keeper Kenneth Vermeer unbeatable in the Feyenoord goal.
And the home supporters were left in disbelief as both referee van Boekel, and his assistant, failed to spot a blatant handball in the penalty area from Feyenoord substitute Miquel Nelom.
A point apiece leaves Groningen in fifth place, while Feyenoord move within two points of leaders Ajax.
PEC Zwolle 2 v 1 AZ Alkmaar: PEC back on track and into sixth place
Two late first half goals from Ouasim Bouy and Kingsley Ehizibue, was enough for Ron Jans’ men to secure the win in Zwolle.
AZ had started the game the brighter of the teams, and were within inches of taking the lead when Jeffrey Gouweleeuw struck a post on 15 minutes.
However, two goals in the final ten minutes of the opening period left AZ with a mountain climb.
PEC should have killed the game shortly after the break when striker Stef Nijland failed to find the target, but the hosts held on comfortably despite an injury time consolation from AZ’s Muamer Tankovic.
Heracles Almelo 1 v 1 Vitesse Arnhem: All square in Almelo
Vitesse arrived in Almelo knowing a win would move them above their hosts and into fourth place in the table.
However, it was Heracles who eventually took a deserved lead through Oussama Tannane on 66 minutes.
The unpredictable, and skillful midfielder, finding the bottom corner of Eloy Room’s goal to leave the keeper helpless.
Vitesse responded almost immediately, but Valeri Qazaishvili failed to beat Heracles stopper Bram Castro.
But with 15 minutes to play, Qazaishvili made amends by slipping in Milot Rashica to fire the ball beyond Castro and into the top corner of the Heracles net.
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