RBC Roosendaal held up AFC Ajax's charge towards the Dutch First Division title on Sunday.
RBC Roosendaal held up AFC Ajax's charge towards the Eredivisie title on Sunday, frustrating the league leaders in a 1-1 draw.
Ajax were forced to settle for a point in the Amsterdam ArenA as their run of 23 consecutive home wins in the league came to an unexpected halt. The hosts fell a goal behind after only three minutes when Eric Hellemons headed in at the far post before skipper Rafael van der Vaart equalised on the half-hour, nodding past goalkeeper Maikel Aerts.
Despite dropping two points, Ronald Koeman's side stay on course to seize their 29th league title as they lie eight points clear of champions PSV Eindhoven with four matches remaining. If PSV fail to win at Roosendaal on Saturday, Ajax would clinch the title by defeating NEC Nijmegen on their travels a day later.
PSV dispatched NEC 3-0 on Saturday despite beginning poorly after their midweek UEFA Cup exit at the hands of Newcastle United FC. Mateja Kezman converted his first Eredivsie penalty of the season on the cusp of half-time and collected his 24th goal of the campaign in the 85th minute when he deflected in a free-kick from Mark van Bommel, who added the third goal in added time.
Feyenoord registered their fourth consecutive away victory against FC Utrecht on Sunday, winning 3-0. The triumph consolidated third place - a position away from direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Polish international Ebi Smolarek opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half, tucking in a pass from Anthony Lurling and eleven minutes later Dirk Kuijt doubled the lead with his 14th league goal of the campaign. Smolarek's second secured the win.
SC Heerenveen, in fourth, are five points behind Feyenoord after losing for the first time in eleven matches, 1-0 at relegation-threatened FC Zwolle. Bert Zuurman's solitary goal on the stroke of half-time proved the difference. FC Volendam, meanwhile, fought back from 2-0 down against visiting NAC Breda, prevailing 4-2.
Elsewhere, ADO Den Haag beat FC Twente 1-0 at home thanks to a first-half goal from Roy Stroeve while Matthew Amoah saved a point for SBV Vitesse, who drew 1-1 at Willem II but finished with ten men after Peter van Vossen was sent off. FC Groningen and AZ Alkmaar cancelled each other out 1-1 at Oosterpark, as did RKC Waalwijk and Roda JC at Mandemakers.