Referee suffers as Utrecht triumph

The outpouring of anger from the NAC faithful centred on the

dismissal of Anthony Lurling by official Bjorn Kuipers, three

minutes after Asare’s 25th-minute opener, for an innocuous-looking

foul on Jacob Lensky. Mertens clinched victory four minutes from

time. Heerenveen’s 2-1 win at basement club RKC Waalwijk was held

up for the same reason as the home fans vented their ire at referee

Bas Nijhuis’ harsh handball decision which allowed Gerald Sibon to

score the winner from the penalty spot six minutes from time.

Veteran Sibon had opened the scoring in the 13th minute but

Benjamin de Ceulaer’s tap-in levelled matters before the late

controversy. VVV Venlo twice came from behind to earn an

enthralling 3-3 draw with AZ Alkmaar. Adil Auassar cancelled out

Pontus Wernbloom’s first-half opener but Simon Poulsen and Mounir

El Hamdaoui put the visitors 3-1 up. VVV were not to be denied,

though, and Ruben Schaken cut the deficit before Michael Uchebo

levelled matters once more 15 minutes from time. Goran Lovre and

Tim Matavz earned FC Groningen a 2-0 win at NEC Nijmegen. Lovre

struck after eight minutes and Matavz double the advantage three

minutes after half-time, but Groningen were forced to overcome the

dismissal of Leandro Bacuna 10 minutes later to preserve their