Matchday 20 began Friday night in Tilburg, where Willem II and Sparta Rotterdam played out a 5 goal thriller. Twice the home side led through goals from Sol and Lachman, but on each occasion were pegged back by the visitors – El Azzouzi and Verhaar equalising either side of half time.
Despite the setbacks, the points went to the the ‘Tricolores’ as deep into injury time, Thom Faye struck with his second goal of the season to secure the victory and move his side 2 places and 4 points clear of Sparta, who remain 13th.
On to Saturday, where things failed improve for bottom side Go Ahead Eagles who lost the game against Utrecht, and also a man as substitute Darren Maatsen saw red in the second half for a petulant hack. The contest was settled by a solitary own-goal by Eagles defender Xandro Schenk in the first half. The win keeps Utrecht in 6th, whilst Eagles are 3 points adrift at the foot of the Eredivisie table.
Elsewhere, Davy Propper netted a late goal as PSV Eindhoven secured a 2-1 win at Heracles Almelo to keep the pressure on at the top. Midfielder Bart Ramselaar put the 3th placed visitors ahead five minutes into the second half when he slammed the ball past goalkeeper Bram Castro from 12 yards after a break down the left.
? Pröpper scoorde zaterdag de belangrijke 2-1. Het is al zijn derde treffer na de winterstop.
— PSV (@PSV) January 30, 2017
Samuel Armenteros looked to have earned Heracles a point when he equalised with 16 minutes left, crashing in a volley at the far post from a deep right-wing cross. However, there was still time for Propper to win it when the midfielder’s angled drive was deflected past wrong-footed Castro.
Finally, Roda JC thumped 10-man Excelsior to earn a priceless victory in the relegation 6-pointer in Kerkrade. The Rotterdam were up against it from the 18th minute, as defender Wilmilio Matthejj was dismissed. Things got worse as Dani Schahin clipped in a well-worked free-kick shortly after the dismissal, with Mitchell Paulissen scoring twice either side of Thanassis Papazoglou’s second-half goal to help move the Kerkrade club off the bottom and within a single point of the slumping Rotterdammers.
After Ajax’s comfortable 3-0 victory over ADO Den Haag earlier on Sunday, leaders Feyenoord knew nothing but a win of their own would be enough in the late-kick off against NEC Nijmegen at De Kuip.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s side duly obliged with a stellar performance to run out 4-0 victors and remain 5 points clear of the chasing pack, including Ajax. Steven Berghuis put Feyenoord ahead with a sweet half-volley into the bottom right corner before former Southampton loanee Eljero Elia doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time with a strike for the edge of the area.
Denmark forward and the league’s top-scorer on 14 goals, Nicolai Jorgensen, sealed the win and added some gloss to the scoreline with two goals in the final four minutes of the game.
Chelsea loanees Lewis Baker and Nathan were both on target as Vitesse Arnhem inflicted a 2-1 defeat on fifth-placed AZ Alkmaar.
Baker, playing his first game since a red card against Twente, curled home the opening goal from the edge of the area in the 10th minute before Brazilian Nathan seized on defensive hesitancy to double the advantage early in the second period. An own goal from Georgian defender Guram Kashia gave the visitors hope but Vitesse hung on.
Twente came out on top in the Overijssel derby with a 2-1 victory away at PEC Zwolle. Former Liverpool and Stoke winger Oussama Assaidi scored the decisive goal, capitalising on a poor clearance from Zwolle keeper Mickey van der Hart to net a wonderful chip from all of 30 yards.
— FC Twente Insite (@TwenteInsite) January 29, 2017
Finally, fourth-placed Heerenveen could only manage a goalless draw at home to rivals Groningen in an unusually calm Northern Derby. Both sides went close to scoring, but a point a-piece was a fair outcome from a derby severely lacking quality in the final third.