AZ close in on European spot
A review of the weekend's action so far in the Dutch Eredivisie.
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AZ Alkmaar took a big step towards the Europa League play-off places with a 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle on Sunday.
Goals from Steven Berghuis and Nemanja Gudelj had the home side 2-0 up within 14 minutes and, while Mustafa Saymak pulled one back just before the break, PEC could not find an equaliser.
AZ now sit seven points clear of ninth-placed Groningen with PEC one place and six points below them in the final play-off spot.
On Saturday, PSV Eindhoven climbed to second place after they beat Roda JC and Vitesse Arnhem stumbled to a surprising loss against Groningen on Saturday.
Jurgen Locadia gave PSV a 14th-minute lead, and although Mitchell Paulissen hauled bottom-of-the-table Roda level four minutes before the break, the home side owned the second half.
Bryan Ruiz restored PSV's lead in the 63rd minute and Jeffrey Bruma put the seal on a 3-1 win 12 minutes later.
Vitesse lost 3-1 to their mid-table opponents. Groningen saw a 10th-minute lead given to them by Richairo Zivkovic matched by Christian Atsu's 39th-minute goal, before taking charge after the interval. Nick van der Velden put Groningen ahead for a second time when he scored in the 56th minute, and Tjaronn Chery added a third goal for the home side seven minutes later.
The loss meant Vitesse slipped a place to fourth in the table, still level with FC Twente but now a point behind PSV and seven points adrift of leaders and likely champions Ajax.
NEC Nijmegen showed the kind of spirit that could see them survive this season as they came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 at Heerenveen.
Sixth-placed Heerenveen were in charge at half-time after goals in quick succession before the break from Bilal Basacikoglu and Alfred Finnbogason, who netted a spot-kick just prior to the interval.
Michael Higdon triggered the fightback from second-bottom NEC when he pulled one goal back in the 78th minute, and the sending-off of Rens van Eijden in the 87th minute did not deter the Eredivisie strugglers, with Soren Rieks scoring a last-minute leveller.