Feyenoord emerged victorious in a closely fought game. Photo: ANP/Olaf Kraak
Feyenoord opened up a six-point lead over Ajax in the Eredivisie as they came from behind in a pulsating game to score their first win in Amsterdam for 18 years.
Arie Slot’s side took an early lead in the Klassieker when Quilindschy Hartman picked up Oussama Idrissi’s clever backheel and slid through a perfectly weighted pass for Santiago Gimenez to smash home.
Ajax recovered quickly, with Steven Berghuis going close with a free-kick before Edson Álvarez headed in a corner to level the scores after 17 minutes.
Eight minutes before the break the champions went ahead when Steven Bergwijn took down Berghuis’s long pass and slipped the ball into the path of the onrushing Dusan Tadic.
‘Enough games left’
Feyenoord camped out in Ajax’s half at the start of the second half and their pressing was rewarded after 52 minutes when Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s pass found Sebastian Szymanski lurking on the edge of the six-yard box to poke the ball home.
With neither side prepared to settle for a draw, Mohamed Kudus missed a glorious chance in front of goal with seven minutes left. And three minutes later Feyenoord took the points when David Hancko flicked on a corner for Lutsharel Geertruida to head home.
Coach Arie Slot said: ‘We played excellent football, especially in the second half, but when you look at the work rate, we’re going to have to reproduce that in the next eight matches to have a chance of holding this position.’
His Ajax counterpart John Heitinga insisted his team was still in the title race, even though they will have to overturn a six-point gap in eight games. ‘There are enough matches left and enough points to be won, and we’re going to battle to the end.’
PSV own goal
PSV missed the chance to move level on points with Ajax, despite taking an eighth-minute lead through a solo effort by Xavi Simons – the first teenager since Ronaldo to score more than 12 goals in a season for the Eindhoven side. But they had to settle for a draw after Ibrahim Sangaré nudged a free-kick into his own net after 61 minutes.
Sparta moved up to fifth place with a 2-0 win at Emmen that pushed the Drenthe side back into the relegation zone behind Excelsior, who scored four first-half goals against bottom side Cambuur for their first win in nine games.
Volendam moved further away from the danger zone with their fifth win in six home games against Fortuna Sittard, but Groningen are still deep in the mire after a brace of poacher’s goals by Sydney van Hooijdonk secured a 2-0 win for Heerenveen.
The match in the Euroborg stadium was stopped for 10 minutes after a fan punched Groningen defender Jetro Willems as the players went over to placate the angry crowd.
Oussame Tannane scored twice for NEC as they won at RKC to move into the European play-off positions, while a goal in the fourth minute of injury time by Willum Thor Willumsson meant Go Ahead Eagles came away from Utrecht with all three points.
Volendam 2-1 Fortuna Sittard
Emmen 0-2 Sparta Rotterdam
NEC Nijmegen 1-3 RKC Waalwijk
Utrecht 1-2 Go Ahead Eagles
Ajax 2-3 Feyenoord
Excelsior 4-1 Cambuur Leeuwarden
Groningen 0-2 Heerenveen
Twente Enschede L-L AZ Alkmaar
Vitesse Arnhem 1-1 PSV Eindhoven