Feyenoord's title ambitions were dealt a blow on Sunday as they went down 2-1 at SBV Vitesse in a defeat that allowed AFC Ajax to return to the top of the Eredivisie.
Emile Mbamba scored the winning goal in the 52nd minute for an injury-hit Vitesse but only some resolute defending from the hosts denied Feyenoord the chance of taking a point. It means Ajax now lead the way in the Netherlands with 46 points from 22 games, while Feyenoord have 45 points from the same number of games.
UEFA Cup action
Bert van Marwijk will at least take comfort from the fact his key men came through the tie apparently unscathed with Thursday's UEFA Cup clash at Rangers FC on the horizon. Shinji Ono gave his side the lead in the 26th minute. The Japan midfield player exchanged passes with Bonaventure Kalou before slipping the ball past Vitesse goalkeeper Dragoslav Jevric from 10 metres.
The home side hit back five minutes later when Dejan Stefanovic fired home left-footed after beating Edwin Zoetebier to a Michel Kreek free-kick. Vitesse stuck to their task in an open second half and landed a decisive blow when Mbamba collected a cross from Nicky Hofs and shot home. Feyenoord never gave up and were unlucky when Ono hit the post in the 89th minute and Pierre van Hooijdonk headed narrowly over just before the final whistle.
Salmon the hero
Ajax's return to top spot came courtesy of a 0-0 draw at AZ Alkmaar while Sunday's other match saw NAC Breda triumph 2-1 at FC Twente. Substitute Glen Salmon's close-range goal seven minutes from time ensured the three points after Twente's Simon Cziommer had drawn his side level ten minutes earlier with a tap-in. The scoring began with Cristiano's 18th-minute goal after a goalmouth scramble. The victory kept Breda in fifth place, one position in front of Vitesse although both teams have 38 points.
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