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 advantage.