By Berend Scholten
AFC Ajax are a step closer to securing a UEFA Champions League qualification berth after victory against RBC Roosendaal maintained the four-point gap between themselves and third-placed AZ Alkmaar.
With PSV Eindhoven already confirmed champions, the attention in the Eredivisie has switched to the battle for European places. Ajax currently lie second and victory next weekend against RKC Waalwijk could confirm a place in next season's Champions League following the 4-1 win at Roosendaal.
Steven Pienaar broke the deadlock midway through the first half before two goals in as many minutes from Wesley Sneijder and Angelos Charisteas effectively tied up the points before half-time. Tomás Galásek made it four from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, before Tim Smolders scored a late consolation.
Alkmaar remain in contention, however, after ending a run of six games without a win with a 2-1 victory against FC Groningen. Olaf Lindenbergh and Adil Ramzi were both on target for the UEFA Cup semi-finalists before Erik Nevland scored a late consolation.
Feyenoord are now out of the Champions League race after a 3-1 defeat at SC Heerenveen. Finland international Mika Väyrynen scored two goals either side of Dirk Kuijt's 37th-minute equaliser, before Petter Hansson added a third on 77 minutes as the home side strengthened their own bid for a UEFA Cup spot.
Gertjan Verbeek's side now lie three points ahead of FC Twente, who drew 2-2 after champions PSV twice came from behind. Jason Culina broke the deadlock just after the hour before Gerald Sibon equalised on 65 minutes. Sharbel Touma regained the initiative two minutes later and although the lead lasted seven minutes this time, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink earned PSV a point.
Seventh-placed SBV Vitesse came from behind to earn a 3-1 win against Waalwijk. Aleksandar Rankovic, Eldridge Rojer and Matthew Amoah were all on target after Rick Hoogendorp had broken the deadlock. Elsewhere, Roda JC and Willem II both won 1-0 against NEC Nijmegen and ADO Den Haag respectively.
Den Bosch adrift
At the bottom, FC Den Bosch are now further adrift at the foot of the table after a 2-0 defeat by NAC Breda allowed De Graafschap to pull three points clear with a goalless draw against FC Utrecht.
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