PSV Eindhoven extended their lead at the top of the Eredivisie to five points as they ended a run of three successive draws with victory at Excelsior.
With Ajax’s match against PEC Zwolle postponed to allow the Amsterdam club prepare for their Champions League trip to Madrid, the league leaders took full advantage, with a goal in each half from Steven Bergwijn.
The result leaves Excelsior in 14th place, two points ahead of Emmen, who went down 4-0 to a Robin van Persie-inspired Feyenoord. The veteran striker bagged a hat-trick in 62 minutes before Steven Berghuis crowned the win with a free-kick.
De Graafschap edged closer to Emmen with a 1-1 draw at ADO Den Haag. The Superboeren were on course for their first away of the season until nine minutes from time, when Youssef El Jebli cancelled out Sheraldo Becker’s first-half goal.
That result leaves bottom-placed NAC Breda five points adrift after they went down 4-1 to a clinical Vitesse Arnhem, while PEC Zwolle remain 15th with a game in hand.
Fourth-placed AZ Alkmaar kept up the pressure on Feyenoord, but had to come from behind against Fortuna Sittard. Second-half goals by Guus Til, Oussama Idrissi and Teun Koopmeiners – who had given AZ the lead with a 28th-minute penalty – secured a 4-2 win.
Heerenveen claimed only their second home victory of the season by beating cup finalists Willem II Tilburg by the same scoreline. Willem II had threatened a comeback after coming down from 3-0 at half-time with goals from Alexander Isak and Vangelis Pavidis, but shortly afterwards Thomas Meissner was dismissed for a lunging tackle on Sam Lammers, who scored two of Heerenveen’s goals including a penalty.
Groningen continued their fine form since Christmas, edging out VVV Venlo 3-2 to record their fifth win in seven matches and climb to eighth place. The northerners were awarded two penalties and played with an extra man from the 35th minute, when VVV’s Moreno Rutten was sent off for a scything tackle on Tim Handwerker. Denny Post had given the visitors the lead with a flashing volley from a corner.
Utrecht also scored two penalties in their 5-1 win at Heracles Almelo which lifted them above the Achterhoek side into sixth place. Manager Dick Advocaat had no complaints this week about the VAR after Heracles’ Jesper Drost was dismissed in the first half when the video referee spotted his foul on Sean Klaiber.
However, the manager was less pleased with substitute Riecheldy Bazoer, who took the second penalty instead of spot-kick specialist Simon Gustafson. ‘I think it’s pretty egotistical to grab the ball yourself when the regular guy scores almost every time. I wouldn’t have done it myself, put it that way,’ said Advocaat.
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