10-man Ajax beats Heracles 4-0 to stay topAP , Associated Press
Apr. 7, 2013 1:04 PM ET
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Ajax beat Heracles Almelo 4-0 Sunday to stay top of the Dutch Eredivisie, despite playing much of the second half with 10 men after goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer was sent off.
PSV kept the pressure on Ajax by beating last-placed Willem II 3-1 in Tilburg on Saturday. Vitesse Arnhem is level on point with PSV three points behind Ajax, which travels to PSV next Sunday.
Midfielder Lasse Schone gave defending champion Ajax a first-half lead and Vermeer was sent off in the 48th minute for a foul on Geoffrey Castillion.
Being a man down appeared to inspire Ajax, with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scoring four minutes after the red card. Ryan Babel and Christian Eriksen put the result beyond doubt with goals in the 75th and 84th minutes.
In Tilburg, veteran midfielder Mark van Bommel opened PSV's account just before halftime and Ola Toivonen and Timothy Derijck completed the scoring after Jordens Peters had equalized for relegation-threatened Willem II.
Vitesse remained level on points with PSV by beating NAC Breda 3-0 on Saturday, with Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony scoring a goal in each half to bring his league-leading season tally to 29 in as many matches.
The fourth title candidate, Feyenoord, beat VVV Venlo 1-0 on Friday thanks to a powerful 71st-minute header by Graziano Pelle, the Italian striker's 22nd goal of the season, and a string of good saves by goalkeeper Erwin Mulder