Graziano Pelle returned from his four-match suspension to fire Feyenoord to within six points of Eredivisie leaders Ajax on Sunday.
The Italian striker was banned for four games, as well as being stripped of the Feyenoord captaincy, for a string of disciplinary incidents, including kicking the dugouts after March’s defeat to Ajax.
However, he was the difference for Ronald Koeman’s men as they beat RKC Waalwijk 2-0, netting both goals.
The game was also notable for the first use of goalline technology in the Eredivisie – Feyenoord attacker Lex Immers seeing an effort hooked off the line at 0-0, with officials able to confirm a goal should not stand thanks to the technology.
Victory maintains Feyenoord’s four-point advantage on third-placed Twente, while their faint title hopes remain intact with three games remaining.
Frank De Boer’s Ajax missed the chance to within touching distance of a fourth consecutive league title after being held to a 1-1 draw at Vitesse, but the point does confirm a top-two finish and UEFA Champions League qualification.
Bertrand Traore gave the hosts the lead after 25 minutes, but Ajax earned themselves a point thanks to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s strike two minutes after the break.
Bottom club Roda JC are eight points adrift of safety after their 2-2 draw with AZ, but need victories in their final three matches as they look to pull themselves off the automatic relegation spot.
Berry Powel gave Roda the lead in the 25th minute only for Markus Henriksen and Aron Johannsson to put AZ ahead before the hour.
Guus Hupperts earned his side a point with a 70th-minute strike, and Roda held on despite having Guy Ramos dismissed with nine minutes remaining.
Den Haag moved themselves into 10th place in the table with a comfortable 4-1 victory over struggling Utrecht.
The dismissal of Steve de Ridder after 25 minutes made Utrecht’s task harder and their opponents took full advantage with two goals before the break from Roland Alberg and Mike van Duinen.
Mitchell Schet and Michiel Kramer added further goals in the second half to seal the victory, although Jens Toornstra did net a late consolation for the visitors in stoppage time.
Defeat keeps Utrecht five points clear of the bottom three and they will hope to end any relegation fears when they face Heracles next weekend.
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