By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
There were contrasting fortunes for two of Eredivisie's title challengers on Sunday.
There were contrasting fortunes for two of Eredivisie's title contenders on Sunday.
While Feyenoord are now PSV Eindhoven's closest challengers after a 4-0 derby rout of Sparta Rotterdam, AZ Alkmaar surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to Utrecht.
Leendert van Steensel caught AZ napping as early as the third minute and Adil Ramzi doubled that lead less than 25 minutes later.
Robin Nelisse's successful conversion of a 34th minute penalty had supporters rubbing their eyes and AZ went into the interval three goals adrift.
The hosts posted a fightback, however, when van Steensel put through his own net in the 56th minute and Danny Koevermans converted a chance just six minutes later.
Despite a grandstand finish the all-important third goal continued to elude the hosts and Utrecht left Alkmaarder Hout with all three points and in so doing put a severe dent in AZ's title hopes.
Feyenoord took full advantage to claim second spot in De Eredivisie with a comfortable win over Sparta.
Nicky Hofs's quickfire brace on 28 minutes and 37 minutes put the hosts in firm control.
And when the prolific Dirk Kuyt added a third in the 52nd minute it appeared the visitors might be leaving De Kuip with their tail between their legs.
To their credit, however, Sparta refused to buckle but did concede a fourth goal when Ali Boussaboun netted late on.
Elsewhere, Ajax claimed a comprehensive win over RBC Roosendaal, the hosts defeating Eredivisie's bottom club 6-0.
Klaas Huntelaar in the fourth minute and Markus Rosenberg in the 28th minute improved the mood of home supporters who have had to endure a disappointing season.
Huntelaar then claimed his hat-trick with strikes in the 71st and 78th minutes before rounding off a good day's work with his fourth goal and Ajax's fifth seven minutes from time.
Rosenberg notched again four minutes from time to complete another miserable day for the visitors.
Ajax rise two places to fourth but the Amsterdam ArenA outfit are still 20 points behind leaders PSV. Roosendaal, meanwhile, are awaiting their inevitable relegation after collecting just five points from 25 matches.
ADO Den Haag gained a significant boost in their battle for survival by claiming a 3-1 win at Heracles.
Eljero Elia shot the visitors into a 27th minute lead but that advantage lasted for less than two minutes when Stefaan Tanghe pulled the hosts level.
The match appeared to heading for a draw, however, Den Haag had other ideas and eight minutes from time Edwin de Graaf shot his side into the lead.
Heracles pressed for an equaliser but were caught on the break as Ouen netted his side's third goal two minutes from the end.
Willem II also significantly boosted their survival hopes by claiming only their second win in 20 matches - a 2-0 win over NAC Breda, who themselves are very much in the relegation picture.
Two goals in two first half minutes minutes were sufficient for the hosts to claim victory after Breda's Evandor Sno put through his own net in the 25th minute and Moussa Dembele notched.
The win sees Willem II on to 17 points and, although they are still seven points from safety, the result will come as a much-needed morale boost.
Click below for individual match summaries:
AZ Alkmaar 2-3 Utrecht
Feyenoord 4-0 Sparta Rotterdam
Ajax 6-0 RBC Roosendaal
Heracles Almelo 1-3 ADO Den Haag
Willem II Tilburg 2-0 NAC Breda