Frank de Boer’s Ajax resumed their place at the top of the pile at home to Heracles and Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen was defeated by Groningen to end a four-game winning streak.
FC Utrecht 1 (Toornstra 71)
ADO Den Haag 0
The sun was shining in Utrecht this afternoon, the match between Utrecht and ADO did not. It was a poor contest narrowly won by a 71st minute Jens Toornstra strike, against his old club. Both goalkeepers were hardly tested throughout, but unfortunately for Utrecht stopper Robbin Ruiter went down with a groin injury that looked serious and he may be absent for some time.
FC Groningen 3 (Raitala 3OG, Bacuna 42P, de Leeuw 87)
Heerenveen 1 (Mareček 70)
Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen side made the worst possible start when Finnish defender Jukka Raitala put through his own net after three minutes, before a Leandro Bacuna spot-kick three minutes before the break extended their advantage. Substitute Lukas Mareček pulled a goal back in the 70th minute but midfielder Michael De Leeuw overhead kick in the penalty area cemented the win for Groningen with three minutes left.
NEC Nijmegen 1 (Conboy 19)
AZ Alkmaar 1 (Maher 17)
After four straight losses for NEC a well deserved draw at home to relegation threatened AZ was a welcome result. Hot property Adam Maher, rumoured to leave AZ in the summer, scored a lovely solo effort on 17 minutes from outside the box to fire past Gabor Babos in goal. Two minutes later, NEC were level with Kevin Conboy hit a wonderful curling free-kick straight home. NEC got themselves in trouble on the hour when Nick van der Velden stupidaly kicked out at Giliano Wijnaldum. AZ had a golden opportunity spurned to take all three points in injury time when Aron Jóhannsson hit his shot straight into the arms of Babos.
Ajax 4 (Schöne 13, Sigþórsson 52, Babel 75, Eriksen 84)
League leaders Ajax are now back to three points ahead of PSV and Vitesse has they turned over Heracles Almelo 4-0 although having just ten men for the majority of the game. Ajax’s Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne gave them an early lead after 13 minutes after a one-two with Kolbeinn Sigþórsson.
Heracles did come back into the game without scoring a goal but forced enough pressure on Kenneth Vermeer, so much so that he found himself having an early bath. The pacey Geoffrey Castillion outpaced Toby Alderweireld and was through on goal but Vermeer rushed out and brought the striker down on the edge of the box. On 48 minutes, Vermeer was sent off immediately and he will now miss Ajax’s crunch title clash with PSV next weekend.
Ajax did not panic and found themselves two goals to the good four minutes later. Icelandic striker Sigþórsson smashed a close range shot against the crossbar and latched on the rebound for 2-0. On 75 minutes, Ryan Babel smashed home a Schöne cross and Christian Eriksen finished the rout six minutes from time.
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