After Ajax struggle past De Graafschap, Feyenoord taste defeat in Nijmegen, and PSV hold on against PEC, the Eredivisie winter break is upon us, writes Neil Adderley.
Vitesse Arnhem 5 v 1 FC Twente: Five star Vitesse punish Twente
Twente saw out a terrible 2015 with yet another heavy defeat as Peter Bosz’ Vitesse ran amok in Arnhem.
Valeri Qazaishvili gave Vitesse a first half lead, quickly doubled by Milot Rashica, and despite a probable farewell goal from Twente talisman Hakim Ziyech, the hosts hit three second half goals to claim an emphatic win.
Twente keeper Joel Drommel made a hash of a corner to allow Dominic Solanke to profit, and the visitors completely capitulated as Rashica grabbed his second and the hosts fourth goal.
Denys Oliynyk completed the rout as he nodded home from close range, to leave Vitesse in fourth place going into the winter break.
AZ Alkmaar 2 v 2 Utrecht: AZ claim point with injury time penalty
A 91st minute Jeffrey Gouweleeuw penalty rescued a point for AZ in an endtoend game in Alkmaar.
In form Utrecht began on the front foot, but striker Sebastian Haller, watched by a host of European scouts, somehow failed to convert from two yards out.
The miss galvanised AZ, and the hosts went ahead on 27 minutes through a firm strike from fullback Mattias Johansson.
The home supporters were left baffled when a Robert Muhren goal was inexplicably disallowed for offside, and AZ were doubly punished when Ruud Boymans headed home to level matters minutes later.
Utrecht looked to have settled the contest when Haller made amends for his first half miss, but when Joris van Overeem was upended in the box, Gouweleeuw stepped up to claim a point for AZ.
PSV Eindhoven 3 v 2 PEC Zwolle: PSV stand strong to claim tight victory
Captain and Eredivisie leading scorer Luuk de Jong headed a 65th minute winner to send PSV above Feyenoord and into second in the table.
De Jong’s 14th goal of the season put paid to a PEC comeback, who had bravely fought back from a two goal deficit.
A Gaston Pereiro double had given the champions what seemed like a comfortable lead, but PEC hit back through a Bram van Polen penalty, before Lars Veldwijk slammed the ball beyond Jeroen Zoet to send the teams level at the break.
But when Maxime Lestienne, returning to action after the death of both parents, made space before hitting a pinpoint cross, top scorer de Jong was on hand to head home and secure a vital win for the hosts.
Heracles Almelo 2 v 1 Groningen: Last minute Bosz breaks Groningen hearts
With father Peter in the stands, and fresh from Vitesse’s hammering of FC Twente, son Gino Bosz hit a 90th minute free kick to round off a memorable 2015 for Heracles.
ExHeracles midfielder Bryan Linssen had given Groningen the lead before the break, only for Paul Gladon to bring the scores level.
With nothing to choose between the teams, and the game seemingly heading for a draw, the young defender stepped up to beat Sergio Padt in the Groningen goal, to seal an excellent weekend for the Bosz family.
Excelsior 1 v 4 Cambuur: Frisians end difficult year on a high
After a mostly woeful 2015, Henk de Jong and Cambuur will enter the new year with renewed hope after a resounding victory in Rotterdam.
It was an impressive victory for the visitors, who built on last weekend’s first win of the season to put daylight between themselves and the bottom two.
Star of the show was striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, the Nigerian grabbing a double, and Cambuur will be hoping to retain the services of the striker beyond the break for winter.
Kevin Vermeulen scored a late consolation for Excelsior, but not before Jack Byrne and Jamiro Monteiro had put the contest well beyond the reach of the hosts.
NEC Nijmegen 3 v 1 Feyenoord: NEC hand Feyenoord painful defeat
NEC Nijmegen recovered from a Dutch Cup exit to nonleague HHC Hardenberg, to record a famous victory over title chasing Feyenoord.
The stunning win seemed unlikely after Tonny Vilhena had given the visitors a 20 minute lead.
However, NEC posed a constant threat and were rewarded on the hour when Belgian talent Anthony Limbombe showed pace, power and composure to set up Janio Bikel for the equaliser.
And the hosts were far from finished. Firstly Limbombe headed home, after Navarone Foor had lobbed keeper Kenneth Vermeer, before club top scorer Christian Santos settled the tie to move NEC into an impressive 6th place in the table.
A painful, and costly defeat for Feyenoord leaves Giovanni van Bronkhorst and his team five points behind leaders Ajax.
Heerenveen 0 v 4 ADO Den Haag: ADO stun Heerenveen with four goal hammering
The hosts had been on an upward curve since the return of veteran coach Foppe de Haan, however the Frisians had no answer to a rampant ADO at the Abe Lenstra stadium.
Heerenveen struggled to contain the pace and movement of ADO, and the visitors took a deserved lead through Aaron Meijers on 20 minutes.
Young midfielder Danny Bakker doubled the lead after 54 minutes, and the game was up for Heerenveen when ADO cult hero Tom Beugelsdijk controlled in the box before firing past Erwin Mulder.
Kevin Janssen then piled on the misery for a woeful Heerenveen after hitting ADO’s fourth in injury time.
Willem II 3 v 2 Roda JC: Tilburgers squeeze past Roda
In a game crucial to the survival hopes of both teams, Willem II held off Roda in a five goal thriller.
The visitors found themselves ahead after just six minutes when Tomi Juric picked himself up to convert from the penalty spot.
Willem II replied with two goals in 11 minutes from defender Dries Wuytens, before a sweet finish from forward Nick van der Velden put daylight between the sides.
Roda searched for a way back into the game, and duly found one when Ryan Griffiths headed home from a corner.
However, despite a nervy last few minutes, Willem II held on to secure a win and move five points clear of the bottom three.
Ajax 2 v 1 De Graafschap: Ajax stutter to win against rock bottom De Graafschap
De Graafschap stunned Ajax with a Kristopher Vida equaliser, but the league leaders eventually claimed the three points through a 65th minute Riechedly Bazoer volley.
While the performance left a lot to be desired, Frank de Boer can be satisfied going into the winter break with a three, and five point lead over PSV and Feyenoord respectively.
Arkadiusz Milik had given the hosts a 26 minute lead, heading home a Nemanja Gudelj free kick. However, De Graafschap shocked the ArenA when Vida finished smartly from the edge of the area on the stroke of half time.
Ajax dominated possession but failed to break down the visitors defence, until Bazoer beat the excellent Hidde Jurjus with a crisp 18 yard volley.
The win leaves Ajax as Dutch ‘winter champions’ while De Graafschap, now eleven points from safety, are left needing a miracle to avoid relegation.