Ajax strengthened their grip on the Eredivisie as rivals PSV needed a last-minute goal to save themselves from a third successive league defeat.
Erik ten Hag’s side made hard work of beating PEC Zwolle on Friday night. After going three up in 20 minutes, Ajax allowed Gustavo Hamer to profit from some slack defending to pull a goal back before half-time.
Zwolle’s Mustafa Saymak put the ball in the net twice in the second half, but the second was disallowed for offside before David Neres sealed the points with a late strike.
PSV, who were missing Donyell Malen and Steven Bergwijn through injury, twice went behind to Sparta Rotterdam, the second time just a minute after Michal Sadilek’s equaliser. Mohamed Rayhi’s strike looked good for all three points until Cody Gakpo popped up with a goal in the 91st minute.
PSV’s latest setback meant AZ Alkmaar went clear in second place, six points behind Ajax. AZ cruised to a 3-0 win over FC Twente, whose goalkeeper Joël Drommel was sent off in the first half for bundling over Myron Boadu outside the penalty area.
Advocaat debut, RKC win
Dick Advocaat’s latest salvage operation at a Dutch club began with a 3-0 win at out-of-form VVV. Nicolas Jørgensen’s first goal of the season and a flashing half-volley from Steven Berghuis gave the Rotterdam side a half-time cushion, with Berghuis adding a penalty in injury time.
‘It’s a good result, but there were moments when we allowed ourselves to be forced back just as I was wanting to defend from the front,’ said Advocaat. ‘We also had moments when we gave the ball away a lot.’
While VVV’s sixth successive defeat keeps them second bottom in the table, below then RKC Waalwijk claimed their first league win of the season against Heracles. Sylla Sow put the Brabant club ahead in the 11th minute and RKC had chances to go further ahead before Kevin Vermeulen slid in a second in the fifth minute of injury time.
Emmen moved away from the drop zone with a 2-1 home victory against Vitesse Arnhem, who missed the chance to push PSV into fourth place. Michael de Leeuw pounced on a mix-up in Vitesse’s defence before Nikolai Laursen doubled the lead on 22 minutes, and though Nouha Dicko tapped in from close range on 33 minutes Vitesse were unable to find an equaliser.
Utrecht moved up to fourth with a handsome 6-0 win over Fortuna Sittard. Gyrano Kerk set the home side on their way in the fourth minute, while Simon Gustafson scored twice from the spot and Sander van de Streek also bagged a double.
ADO Den Haag looked on course for a second successive win when Michiel Kramer put them in front from the spot against Heerenveen after an hour, but a late header by defender Sven Botman earned the Frisians a point and kept ADO just one point ahead of the relegation places.
Two goals by Kaj Sierhuis gave Groningen a 2-0 win over Willem II to lift the northerners into the top half of the table. Only the bottom two clubs have scored fewer goals this season than sixth-placed Willem II.
PEC Zwolle 2-4 Ajax
AZ Alkmaar 3-0 Twente Enschede
RKC Waalwijk 2-0 Heracles Almelo
Sparta Rotterdam 2-2 PSV Eindhoven
ADO Den Haag 1-1 Heerenveen
Emmen 2-1 Vitesse Arnhem
Groningen 2-0 Willem II Tilburg
Utrecht 6-0 Fortuna Sittard
VVV Venlo 0-3 Feyenoord