Ajax signalled their title-winning intent by moving back to the Eredivisie summit with a thumping 6-0 win over Heracles this afternoon. Locked in a six-team battle for the crown, the Amsterdam club took over top spot from AZ Alkmaar, who were later held 2-2 by Vitesse Arnhem.
Frank de Boer's men opened the scoring in the first half through Theo Janssen and then cut loose in the second, with Lorenzo Ebecilio making it 2-0 and Christian Eriksen claiming the third.
Vurnon Anita, Siem de Jong and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, on as a substitute having been out injured since early October, completed the rout.
That put the pressure on AZ to respond and they were frustrated at the Gelredome. American forward Jozy Altidore headed them in front, but Guram Kashia (35) and Marco van Ginkel (46) gave Vitesse the lead. Simon Poulsen was credited with the equaliser on the hour mark, but Brett Holman almost immediately collected a second yellow card and AZ's remaining ten men were unable to find a winner.
De Graafschap stay bottom
De Graafschap remain rooted to the foot of the table after a 2-0 defeat at NEC Nijmegen. Going into the match two points behind Excelsior, Richard Roelofsen's men knew a three-point haul would lift them off the bottom of the pile.
However, goals either side of the break from Lasse Schone and Genero Zeefuik ensured that NEC coasted to a comfortable success, aided by Lion Kaak's dismissal just prior to half-time.
RKC Waalwijk boosted their hopes of clinching a UEFA Europa League play-off place with a narrow victory over ADO Den Haag. Krisztian Nemeth netted the game's only goal midway through the first half to lift RKC back level on points with eighth-placed NEC.