Utrecht have claimed their second win in a row with a 1-0 triumph at home against Groningen to move into fourth on the Eredivisie table.
Nana Asare gave the hosts the win with his second-half strike, although Utrecht had to pull off some last-ditch defending to ensure victory as Groningen pushed late.
The hosts created the first goal-scoring chance of the game when a corner was flicked on to Mark van der Maarel who volleyed just wide of the far post.
But it was Groningen’s Michael de Leeuw who missed the biggest opportunity of the first half when, in the 24th minute, he snuck into the penalty area to get on the end of Kees Kwakman’s fine cross only to side-foot past the post.
Utrecht finished the first half strongest with Adam Sarota striking a powerful shot just over the bar from a tight angle, two minutes before the break.
It took Utrecht 13 minutes of the second half to hit the front, Alexander Gerndt curling a cross towards Asare at the far side of the penalty area.
The 26-year-old Ghanaian midfielder used his left boot to perfectly side-foot a volley back across Groningen’s goalkeeper Luciano and into the bottom corner of the net.
While Groningen pushed for an equaliser with Paco van Moorsel’s long-range shot forcing Utrecht goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter to tip the ball over the bar with less than a quarter of an hour to play, Jan Wouters’ side held on for their fifth win of the season.
With the three points added to their tally Utrecht leapfrog Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord into fourth, while Groningen remain 10th.