Twente take advantage of top two troubles
FC Twente have moved to within three points of the Eredivisie summit after taking advantage of surprise defeats for leading pair PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar.
PSV started the day by suffering a 3-0 defeat at mid-table FC Groningen, which should have been the cue for AZ to go three points clear.
But instead they were on the wrong end of an even bigger surprise as they lost 3-0 to struggling FC Utrecht. That allowed FC Twente, playing in the late game, to gain ground with a 4-1 thrashing of Vitesse Arnhem.
PSV looked lacklustre following their midweek UEFA Europa League trip to Trabzonspor, and it cost them as a brace from Hyung-Jun Suk either side of a Leandro Bacuna strike early in the second half condemned them to defeat. Insult was added to injury as Stanislav Manolev was sent off for two bookable offences before the third goal.
AZ also got a red card to go with their 3-0 defeat. Utrecht took the lead in the 14th minute through an Alexander Gerndt penalty in an incident that also saw AZ reduced to ten men when Niklas Moisander was sent off.
Utrecht then took full advantage of their numerical superiority to add a second goal through Gerndt six minutes later before Edouard Duplan made it 3-0 just before half-time.
Twente had no such troubles with their result, even if they too had a man sent off. Leroy Fer got them off the mark in the sixth minute before Luuk de Jong and Ola John added further strikes in the second half.
The 80th-minute dismissal of Peter Wisgerhof did not slow Twente as Nacer Chadli soon added a fourth, but there was time for Mike Havenaar to get a late consolation for Vitesse.
Ajax fire four
Ajax are sixth, five points from the summit, after thrashing NEC Nijmegen 4-1. The home side showed no ill effects from their midweek defeat to Manchester United in the Europa League, with Dmitri Bulykin opening the scoring in the fifth minute.
Jan Vertonghen added a second in the eighth minute before Bulykin scored again before half an hour had been played. The second half was more even, with Ajax scoring a fourth through Siem de Jong and NEC finally getting something to cheer when Rens van Eijden headed home from close range.