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Feyenoord, Heracles close in on Dutch league leaders Ajax

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Feyenoord Rotterdam and Heracles Almelo narrowed the gap with Dutch football league leaders Ajax Amsterdam on Sunday by beating Willem II and ADO Den Haag, respectively, with the top-placed side dropping their first points of the season against FC Twente on Saturday.

Wout Weghorst earned Heracles their fourth consecutive victory, 1-0 against ADO, while substitute Eljero Elia became match winner for Feyenoord at home against Willem II (1-0). He smashed home after a pass by Rick Karsdorp, reports Xinhua.

On Saturday, Ajax came 0-2 behind against Twente. With new head coach Rene Hake as replacement for Alfred Schreuder, who was fired at the end of August, the home team showed character, leading to the opening goal by Felipe Gutiérrez. The Chilean midfielder finished a corner by Hakim Ziyech.

After a handball by Nemanja Gudelj Twente was awarded a penalty, which was converted by Ziyech in the 51st minute. Ajax bounced back through substitute Viktor Fischer, who finished a pass by Riechedly Bazoer. A foul by debuting Twente goalkeeper Joel Drommel on substitute Yaya Sanogo led to a penalty for Ajax, with Gudelj equalising from the penalty spot.

Also on Saturday reigning champions PSV Eindhoven had an easy evening against SC Cambuur in Leeuwarden. Referee Kevin Blom handed Cambuur midfielder Sander van de Streek a red card for a handball in the eighth minute and awarded PSV a penalty.

Luuk de Jong converted the opportunity and added two more goals for a hat-trick in the first half. In the second half, Davy Propper extended the score and substitute Jurgen Locadia made it 6-0 with a brace.

PEC Zwolle beat Excelsior 3-0 thanks to three goals by striker Lars Veldwijk. Stef Nijland missed a penalty on behalf of PEC and Excelsior finished the match with nine men after Sander Fischer and Tom van Weert received their second yellow booking in the final phase of the match.

Also on Saturday Roda JC Kerkrade drew 0-0 at home against NEC.

Ajax kept the lead in the standings, but after their first draw the Amsterdam giants are now on 13 points from 5 matches. Feyenoord and Heracles are on 12 points, followed by PSV and PEC Zwolle with 11 points.

(IANS)