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Ajax close in on Dutch crown

Published: Sunday 4 April 2004, 18.16CET
Another victory at the weekend means AFC Ajax are just seven points away from clinching the title.

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Published: Sunday 4 April 2004, 18.16CET

Ajax close in on Dutch crown

Another victory at the weekend means AFC Ajax are just seven points away from clinching the title.
AFC Ajax need just seven points from their remaining six games to clinch their 29th Dutch Eredivisie title after John Heitinga's late goal secured a 2-1 home win against FC Groningen on Sunday and put them 12 points clear of second-placed PSV Eindhoven.

Heitinga winner
Ajax made a slow start but finally went ahead 12 minutes after the break, skipper Rafael van der Vaart converting a Nicolea Mitea assist. South African Glen Salmon equalised in the 75th minute but Maxwell's cross was headed home by Heitinga four minutes from time to give Ajax their 22nd victory of the season ahead of next Sunday's visit to third-placed Feyenoord.

Easy win
PSV won 4-0 at RKC Waalwijk on Saturday. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink opened the scoring in the ninth minute and they made the game safe in the second-half with two goals inside five minutes from Mateja Kezman and Park Ji-sung. Kezman picked up his second with eight minutes to go.

Buffel double
Feyenoord, in third position, turned on the style in the second half of their match at NAC Breda to win 3-0. Centre-back Peter van den Berg broke the deadlock six minutes after the break before Thomas Buffel struck twice to finish the job and raise his goalscoring tally for the campaign to 14.

Europe target
Fourth-placed AZ Alkmaar kept up their push for a European place with a 2-1 home success against struggling SBV Vitesse, Martijn Meerdink and Robin Nelisse collecting the goals in the 52nd and 56th minutes. Mika Väyrynen's late effort handed SC Heerenveen, in fifth, a 1-0 victory at Roda JC.

Utrecht thriller
Dutch Cup finalists FC Utrecht, meanwhile, came from behind twice to beat lowly ADO Den Haag 5-3 in a thriller. ADO took the lead through Youssef El Akchaoui after three minutes but Patrick Zwaanswijk quickly replied only for Roy Stroeve to put the visitors back in front. This time their advantage lasted just a minute before Dave van den Bergh equalised. Zwaanswijk then put Utrecht ahead with his second goal only for Romeo Castelan to bring ADO level at 3-3. After the break, Utrecht wrapped up the points when Van den Bergh and Donny de Groot tucked away.

Zwolle point
Bottom club FC Zwolle took a point from their trip to RBC Roosendaal in a 1-1 draw, but they saw the side directly above them, FC Volendam, take all three points courtesy of a 2-1 win at FC Twente. On Friday, NEC Nijmegen scored four unanswered goals against Willem II with Youssouf Hersi twice on target and Rob Wielaert and Zico Tumba also chipping in.

Last updated: 05/04/04 12.16CET

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