A late goal by Jurriën Timber earned Ajax a gritty victory in storm-drenched Tilburg, keeping the champions five points clear at the top of the Eredivisie.
Willem II had a chance to make Ajax’s task even harder early on when Jizz Hornkamp miskicked after Ché Nunnely’s cross found him unmarked in front of the goal.
‘It was a thoroughly deserved win,’ said coach Erik ten Hag, who praised the ‘patience, belief and spirit’ of his team.
Nearest challengers PSV and Feyenoord kept up the pressure with 3-1 wins over Heerenveen and Cambuur Leeuwarden.
Teenager Noni Madueke kept up his recent scoring form with the opener for PSV, who inflicted Heerenveen’s seventh successive league defeat. Tibor Halilovic levelled the scores before half-time but goals early in the second half from Mario Götze and Joey Veerman made sure of the points.
Feyenoord’s win came courtesy of two memorable strikes by Luis Sinisterra and Alireza Jahanbaksh, as well as Orkun Kökçü’s fifth goal in four games. Sinisterra opened the scoring with a turn and shot from just outside the area, but Jahanbaksh eclipsed it with curling shot that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
AZ Alkmaar extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches in all competitions with a 2-1 win against Heracles that took them three points clear of FC Twente in fourth place.
Twente had to come from behind to salvage a point at home to Go Ahead Eagles. A late period of pressure was rewarded when substitute Joshua Brenet’s attempted cross flew in over the head of Andries Noppert.
Vitesse Arnhem and Utrecht stayed in sixth and seventh spots after a 1-1 draw at the Galgenwaard that was interrupted for half an hour when fans threw fireworks onto the pitch.
NEC Nijmegen bagged a late equaliser at home to RKC when Jonathan Okita poked home a shot by Elayis Tavsan.
Bottom club PEC Zwolle remain unbeaten in 2022 after snatching a stoppage-time equaliser at Groningen when Yuta Nakayama headed in from a corner. The other clubs in the bottom three, Fortuna and Sparta, had their Friday evening match postponed because of Storm Eunice.
Fortuna Sittard P-P Sparta Rotterdam
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Heracles Almelo
NEC Nijmegen 1-1 RKC Waalwijk
Willem II Tilburg 0-1 Ajax
Feyenoord 3-1 Cambuur Leeuwarden
PEC Zwolle 1-1 Groningen
PSV Eindhoven 3-1 Heerenveen
Twente Enschede 2-2 Go Ahead Eagles
Vitesse Arnhem 1-1 Utrecht
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