The Eredivisie returned after the winter break with Feyenoord falling at home to PSV, Ajax holding off ADO Den Haag, and De Graafschap securing a first home win of the season, writes Neil Adderley.
FC Twente 4 v 0 Heracles Almelo: Twente blast Heracles away
Dutch crisis club FC Twente began 2016 with a bang, as goals from Chinedu Ede (2), Hakim Ziyech and Hidde Ter Avest left high flyers Heracles reeling.
Once again it was Ziyech who stole the show with a virtuoso display.
The attacking midfielder danced his way through the visitors defence before his deflected shot was fired home by Ede.
And within fifteen minutes Ziyech doubled the lead with a smart finish after another eye catching run into the penalty box.
Ede bagged his second and Twente’s third in the second half, after good work by Felipe Gutierrez.
Heracles had gone into the winter break in an impressive fourth place in the table, however they had no answer to an irrepressible Twente performance.
Fullback Hidde Ter Avest rounded off the scoring to send the long suffering fans home happy, but the loudest applause of the evening was saved for Hakim Ziyech.
The talented midfielder received a standing ovation in what could well prove to be his final bow in a Twente shirt.
Cambuur Leeuwarden 0 v 2 Vitesse Arnhem: New boss Rob Maas claims debut victory
Interim manager Rob Maas got off to a winning start as Vitesse saw off Cambuur in a wintery Friesland.
The visitors dominance eventually paid off as Milot Rashica pounced on a Valeri Qazaishvili effort after 48 minutes.
Cambuur responded but could find no way past Vitesse keeper Eloy Room, and the first victory in Maas’ reign was sealed in injury time by the dangerous Qazaishvili.
PEC Zwolle 5 v 2 Heerenveen: Five star PEC crush Heerenveen
Ron Jans’ men got off to a flyer as goals from Dirk Marcellis, Bram van Polen (2), Wout Brama and Stef Nijland punished ten man Heerenveen.
Despite going two goals behind within 20 minutes, the visitors remained in the game, and halved the deficit through Mitchell te Vrede seconds after the break.
However, any chance of a comeback was thwarted when Joey van den Berg was sent off, before Lucas Bijker was harshly adjudged to have handled in the penalty box.
Van Polen made no mistake from the spot, and the home side took full advantage of a depleted Heerenveen as Brama made it 41 after 78 minutes.
St Juste pulled one back for de Haan’s team, but it was no more than a consolation on a bad night for the visitors.
And it was left to Stef Nijland to seal a handsome Zwolle victory in the dying moments.
Roda JC 0 v 1 AZ: Ten man AZ hold off Roda
AZ held firm in Kerkrade despite playing 40 minutes of the second half with ten men.
Vincent Janssen had given AZ a five minute lead, heading home a precise Joris van Overeem cross.
Roda pushed for an equaliser but the visitors were rarely troubled in a mostly comfortable first half.
However, once Derrick Luckassen collected his second yellow card after 50 minutes, it was a backtothewall performance from John van den Brom’s side.
Roda were denied by the post and the crossbar, and despite throwing everything at AZ, the visitors held on to claim all three points.
De Graafschap 2 v 0 Excelsior: Superboeren claim first home win of the season
Rock bottom De Graafschap claimed three points at home for the first time in the 2015/16 Eredivisie campaign.
With nearest relegation rivals Cambuur losing to Vitesse, De Graafschap closed the gap to five points, and reignite faint hopes of top flight survival.
Neither side managed to break the deadlock in a tight first period, but eventually the home side were rewarded midway through the second half, when Cas Peters fired home from close range.
Excelsior failed to respond and De Graafschap finally sealed victory in injury time, as Vincent Vermeij finished smartly to break the host’s home duck.
ADO Den Haag 0 v 1 Ajax: League leaders squeeze past ADO
A piece of magic by Amin Younes was enough to seal three points for Ajax in a hard fought affair in Den Haag.
The league leaders took control early on, and it was Youness, collecting the ball expertly in the box before beating Martin Hansen in the ADO goal, who gave Ajax a deserved first half lead.
ADO rallied in the second half, with Ruben Schaken being denied by a brave save from Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen, before striker Mike Havenaar missed a glorious chance to level matters moments later.
While ADO pushed for an equaliser, Ajax came close to doubling the lead through Anwar El Ghazi. The striker’s injury time header bouncing down from the crossbar and onto the goal line.
The win for Ajax leaves Frank de Boer’s men three points ahead of PSV at the top of the table.
Feyenoord 0 v 2 PSV: Champions land crucial blow in fight for the title
Two second half goals from Hector Moreno and substitute Luciano Narsingh were enough for PSV to take all the points in Rotterdam.
Both sides came close to opening the score in a feisty first half, as Michiel Kramer wasted the home side’s best opportunity, while Kenneth Vermeer denied PSV and Jurgen Locadia at the other end.
The deadlock was broken on 50 minutes when Hector Moreno, left unmarked at the far post, prodded home a Davy Propper cross.
Dirk Kuyt could only find the side netting from a promising position, and Kramer was again off target as his looping header dropped onto the roof of the net.
With Feyenoord pouring forward, PSV boss Phillip Cocu introduced the pacy Luciano Narsingh, and the winger proved to be the match winner.
Taking advantage of the space in behind the Feyenoord defence, Narsingh evaded a last ditch Sven van Beek tackle, before slipping the ball past the despairing Vermeer.
Groningen 1 v 4 FC Utrecht: Euroborg finally breached by rampant Utrecht
Groningen suffered a first home defeat of the season at the hands of an impressive Utrecht.
Goals from Bart Ramselaar, Timo Letschert, Chris Kum and Andreas Ludwig put paid to a barely recognisable Groningen.
The one highlight for Groningen, in a game they will quickly look to forget, was a debut strike from new Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth.
However, it was Utrecht that stole the show in a wintery Groningen, with the four goal romp moving the visitors into 6th place in the Eredivisie.
NEC Nijmegen 1 v 0 Willem II: NEC move into fifth after tight win
A 20th minute penalty from NEC Nijmegen striker Christian Santos was enough to split the sides in a dour affair at the Goffert stadium.
ExLiverpool keeper Brad Jones made his home debut, but the Australian stopper was barely troubled by a disappointing Willem II.
And the points were virtually sealed when Willem II were reduced to ten men, after Frank van der Struik was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Newly promoted NEC continue a fine return to the Eredivisie, moving up to fifth in the table, while Willem II remain in 13th place.