Arnold Bruggink scored the only goal as SC Heerenveen struggled past ten-man KSK Beveren to take third position in UEFA Cup Group G and a place in the last 32.
With VfB Stuttgart defeating NK Dinamo Zagreb in the other group game, events went in Heerenveen's favour. Bruggink calmly struck an effort from the edge of the box on 26 minutes, after goalkeeper Mark Volders could only parry Ugur Yildirim's cross into his path. Beveren briefly rallied but their chances took a huge blow when Sekou Ouattara, in the team because of Emmanuel Eboué's suspension, was dismissed on 40 minutes.
Gertjan Verbeek recalled Arek Radomski and Klaas Jan Huntelaar after the duo were rested at the weekend, and both looked sharp as Heerenveen surged forward from the kick-off. They had to wait until 24 minutes for their first chance when Yildirim's header across goal looked bound for Huntelaar before Kristof Lardenoit intervened with his hand. But the Beveren defender was saved as the assistant referee had spotted an offside.
The home side's disappointment was brief, as two minutes later they opened the scoring. Huntelaar and Yildirim were again involved, the latter forcing Volders to claw his cross into the path of Bruggink who coolly slotted the ball in. Five minutes later Yildirim could have made it two, when he danced his way past three defenders on the edge of the box only to flash a shot just past the far post.
Beveren remained a threat, however, and after a pacy run by Moussa Sanogo on 34 minutes, Roméo Seka stroked an effort narrowly wide of the right-hand upright with goalkeeper Brian Vanderbussche well beaten. The home side did not heed the warning, though, and five minutes later another Sanogo run ended in Marco Né hitting a volley straight at the goalkeeper.
The visitor's buoyancy was ended when Ouattara saw red a minute later, punished for bringing down Huntelaar on the edge of the area after Abdoulaye Djiré had been caught on the ball by Mika Väyrynen. The Finnish midfield player again combined with Huntelaar in first-half injury time, but Volders was quick off his line to smother.
Heerenveen continued to dominate after the interval but could not create an opening, and with a solitary goal in it Beveren always looked a threat. Sanogo had a solo run on 63 minutes that was only ended by Petter Hansson deep inside his own penalty box.
Lardenoit goes close
From the resulting corner, the Heerenveen defence failed to deal with a bouncing ball allowing Lardenoit the opportunity to head a looping effort just over the bar. Verbeek reacted by introducing another striker in the shape of Georgios Samaras, and the Greek youngster could have sealed the win on 79 minutes but missed a free header.
The visitors finished strongly and substitute Mohamed Diallo and Romaric N'Dri both forced terrific saves from Vanderbussche with rasping long-range efforts in injury time, but Heerenveen held on.