Feyenoord maintained their Eredivisie title hopes while all but ending the aspirations of Vitesse Arnhem with a 2-0 win at De Kuip on Sunday.
The game kicked off with Vitesse in third place - a point ahead of Feyenoord - and with designs on leapfrogging PSV Eindhoven into second heading into the final three matches of the season.
But rather than close to within three points of leaders Ajax, Vitesse instead saw their title hopes suffer a huge setback as Feyenoord claimed all the points thanks to Graziano Pelle's 39th-minute penalty and a Lex Immers strike after 50 minutes.
Feyenoord replace Vitesse in third place, level on points with PSV and four behind Ajax.
VVV-Venlo's hopes of beating relegation took a hit as they spurned a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to FC Twente.
Goals by Niels Roeseler (18) and Uche Nwofor (23) had the hosts in charge, but Twente hit back after the break with two goals in 60 seconds just before the hour from Rasmus Bengtsson and Luc Castaignos.
The draw takes VVV three points clear of Willem II in the scrap to avoid the one automatic relegation berth, and with just three games left they are now nine points from safety and as good as condemned to a place in the relegation play-offs at best.
PEC Zwolle have no such problems as they moved nine points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-1 win at NEC Nijmegen.
Goals by Youness Mokhtar (18) and Fred Benson (23) had PEC in charge, and although Leroy George (49) pulled one back for NEC, the points were safe when Mateusz Klich struck five minutes from the end.
FC Utrecht made sure of a top-six finish as they beat NAC Breda 3-0, Mike van der Hoorn (14), Jens Toornstra (18) and Edouard Duplan (74) with the goals.
PSV Eindhoven capitalised on Ajax's slip against Heerenveen to cut the lead at the top of the Eredivisie to just four points with a 3-1 victory at AZ Alkmaar on Saturday.
Frank de Boer's reigning champions were held to a 1-1 draw by seventh-placed Heerenveen on Friday night and Mark Van Bommel responded by scoring first at the AFAS Stadion, his opener arriving in the 36th minute.
Dries Mertens doubled PSV's lead in the 57th minute and Jeremain Lens made the points safe four minutes later, with Aron Johannsson scoring a consolation goal four minutes from time.
Having missed the chance to rein Ajax in when losing 3-2 in last week's head-to-head encounter at the Philips Stadion, the new four-point margin gives PSV an outside chance of winning the title over the three-game run-in.
Elsewhere, both teams had a man sent off as Groningen edged into the final Europa League play-off spot by beating ADO Den Haag 2-1.
Goals from Genero Zeefuik (38) and David Texeira (42) were enough to secure victory for Groningen, who did wobble when Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 64th minute.
Kevin Jansen halved the deficit in the 75th minute but 11 minutes later he was following Van Dijk down the tunnel after seeing red.
Groningen have a four-point cushion over ninth-placed Heracles, who put any lingering relegation fears behind them with a 4-0 win over RKC Waalwijk.
Kwame Quansah broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute and Marko Vejinovic (65) put Heracles out of sight before Everton added a brace in the 71st and 85th minutes.
RKC remain four points clear of the relegation places after 16th-placed Roda JC succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at bottom side Willem II.
The Tilburg club are condemned to a last-three finish but could still make the relegation play-offs by dragging VVV Venlo into 18th place.
Philipp Haastrup opened the scoring in the 52nd minute and Aurelien Joachim promptly doubled Willem's lead with a penalty on the hour mark.
Sanharib Malki ensured a nervous finish for the Tricolores when he notched for Roda two minutes from time, but the hosts had done enough to secure their fourth win of the season.
Ajax's charge towards a third successive Eredivisie title suffered a slight setback after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Heerenveen.
A seventh successive victory would have seen the Amsterdam club move eight points clear of second-placed Vitesse Arnhem, who face a tough trip to fourth-placed Feyenoord on Sunday, and they looked on course to do that when Viktor Fischer put them ahead after 26 minutes.
However, in-form Heerenveen, who had won six of their previous seven games, battled back and Alfred Finnbogason's 53rd-minute equaliser earned them a share of the spoils.