The top six all recorded victories while the fight to avoid the relegation play-off places heats up as Roda pull themselves closer to safety with a win over RKC
HEERENVEEN 0-2 AZ
Clinical AZ demolished Heerenveen 4-0 in the Abe Lenstra Stadion on Friday night, with Jozy Altidore scoring two and setting up another.
Heerenveen started the brighter of the two sides but the game turned on AZ’s opener. Altidore latched on to a long ball and took it towards goal before unleashing a shot. His initial effort was saved by Kristoffer Nordfeldt but the former Villarreal man followed it up and nodded it in.
AZ’s lead was doubled just two minutes later when Roy Beerens slid in to divert Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross into the net.
Gudmundsson then got on the scoresheet himself just after the hour mark, running around the back of Altidore to latch on to a magnificent backheel pass from the American before the Iceland international slammed it into the net.
Altidore capped the scoring off three minutes later with a thunderous strike from a free kick which left Nordfeldt with no chance.
PSV 5-2 GRONINGEN
PSV remain in second place and four points behind league leaders Ajax after they beat Groningen 5-2.
Dick Advocaat's side smashed three past the visitors inside the first 15 minutes as they strolled to victory. Tim Matavz struck first when he took a Dries Mertens pass and beat the defender before slotting past Marco Bizot.
Mertens then doubled PSV’s lead, converting from the penalty the Belgian himself was awarded after he was brought down from Stefano Magnasco in the box. Then, Jeremain Lens fired in PSV’s third after collecting a perfectly weighted pass from Mertens.
Four minutes before the break, Mark van Bommel smashed into the bottom corner from outside the box and minutes later, the captain saw a well struck free kick hit the bar but Lens was there to bury the loose ball.
With the job complete before half-time, PSV were able to sit back and conserve their energy throughout the second-half.
Groningen pulled one back through Michael de Leeuw when he tapped in from Andraz Kirm’s pass before the duo combined once again with 15 minutes remaining to make it 5-2.
ADO 1-1 VVV
VVV will have an extended season now as their 1-1 draw with ADO confirmed they will have to try and secure their future in the Dutch top flight through the relegation play-offs.
The visitors went ahead inside the first 15 minutes when Uche Nwofor popped up to divert Ahmed Ammi’s cross past Gino Coutinho.
ADO tried to pull themselves level throughout the match but couldn’t build any momentum. Their best chance of the opening half came through Rydell Poepon, whose header from a Dico Koppers cross was kept out by Niki Maenpaa. Shortly afterwards, Mike van Duinen saw a headed effort go just wide of the post.
ADO looked more dangerous in the second half but couldn’t find the net, however, just as the visitors looked to have given themselves a fighting chance of holding off confirmation of their season’s encore, Van Duinen tapped in after Danny Holla had set him up to make it 1-1.
RODA 3-1 RKC
Roda ensured the battle to avoid the final relegation play-off spot keeps heating up as they pulled themselves to within one point of nearest club RKC with a resounding 3-1 win.
After a goalless first half, the hosts took the lead when Mitchell Donald’s shot struck the post and bounced off of RKC goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet and into the net.
Then, the RKC defence failed to deal with a cross and Sanharib Malki was there to fire in goal 17 of the season to increase RKC’s advantage.
The game was killed off 13 minutes later when Arnaud Sutchuin Djoum unleashed a shot towards goal which took a deflection off of RKC defender Guy Ramos and flew past Zoet.
Nourdin Boukhari scored for RKC in the dying minutes but the damage had been done as both sides prepare for a nervy final two matches of the season.
NAC 0-2 AJAX
Ajax pulled themselves even closer to securing their third successive Eredivisie title with a 2-0 win over NAC, ensuring they remain four points ahead of PSV.
NAC created two clear opportunities in the early stages of the game but failed to open the scoring. First, Rick ten Voorde came out second best in a one-on-one with Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, then an Eric Botteghin header struck the underside of the bar and back into play before it was cleared.
Despite NAC’s early efforts, it was the visitors who took the lead two minutes into the second half. Ryan Babel teed it up for Viktor Fischer who shot from the edge of the box, but Jelle ten Rouwelaar saved it. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson was there to pounce on the rebound but was denied once again by the NAC shot-stopper but the Iceland international had a second opportunity to put the ball in the net, one which he didn’t waste. Then, Ajax were 2-0 up five minutes later when Tim Gilissen headed a Christian Eriksen corner into his own net.
The win means victory against Willem II next weekend will see Ajax crown Eredivisie champions for the 32nd time in their history.
TWENTE 5-2 NEC
NEC are now almost out of the battle for the European playoff places after they suffered a 5-2 mauling at the hands of Twente.
It took just three minutes for the opening goal to be scored as Twente centre-back Douglas headed in a Tim Holscher corner. Then, striker Luc Castaignos doubled Twente’s lead with his 12th goal of the season with the assistance of Nacer Chadli.
Chadli then scored one himself shortly after the break, passing into the bottom corner, but just three minutes later, NEC had pulled one back through Nick van der Velden’s clever free kick.
Twente’s three goal advantage was restored, however, when Castaignos headed a Chadli cross towards goal. His effort smacked the bar but Rasmus Bengtsson was able to finish it off.
Erik Falkenburg made it 4-2 with his goal in injury-time, but Felipe Gutierrez made sure NEC had nothing to celebrate with his side’s fifth two minutes later.
FEYENOORD 6-0 HERACLES
Feyenoord are still in contention for second place as they hammered Heracles 6-0 to remain even on points with PSV.
John Goossens opened the scoring in wonderful fashion with his curling free kick which sailed into the top corner.
Two goals in quick succession from the hosts essentially ensured their work was done inside 33 minutes. First, Graziano Pelle collected a Goossens pass and turned before smashing it into the top corner from outside the box. Then, Lex Immers made it 3-0 when he smashed Daryl Janmaat’s low cross past Remko Pasveer.
Pelle made it 4-0 on the stroke of half-time when he converted a penalty which was awarded to Heracles when goalkeeper Pasveer brought down Ruben Schaken in the box and was shown a red card.
Feyenoord scored two in the second half, with Ruben Schaken who drove towards goal and slotted home after combining with Goossens. Those two teamed up once again as Goossens headed the winger’s cross into the empty net.
ZWOLLE 1-2 UTRECHT
Utrecht collected all three points from their battle with Zwolle in a match between two teams with very little to play for.
It took just two minutes for Utrecht to break the deadlock as Nana Asare brought down an exceptional pass from Mike van der Hoorn and smacked it past goalkeeper Diederik Boer.
Joost Broerse drew Zwolle level 15 minutes later when a corner fell perfectly for him and he drove it home with a powerful shot.
Elroy Pappot put Utrecht back in the lead just 10 minutes into the second period with a delightful finish into the bottom corner for his first Eredivisie goal in only his second match.
VITESSE 3-1 WILLEM II
Vitesse still have a chance of claiming the highly-coveted runner-up spot to earn a place in next season’s Champions League qualifying phase after they beat Willem II 3-1.
Mike Havenaar put Vitesse 1-0 up just nine minutes into the match when Chelsea loanee Patrick van Aanholt caught Virgil Misidjan in possession and charged into the box. The left-back combined with Renato Ibarra before squaring to Havenaar who diverted it in.
Theo Janssen took the ball off of Sofian Akouili outside of the Willem II box and passed to Wilfried Bony, who was there to tap home his 31st goal in 28 Eredivisie appearances.
Willem II were dead and buried in the first minute of the second-half when Marco van Ginkel took on a Havenaar pass and smashed it into the net.
Vitesse remain two points behind PSV and Feyenoord with two games to go.