Vitesse Arnhem's unlikely Eredivisie title bid gathered pace after a 5-3 win over Heracles Almelo, while FC Twente lost.
The league's top scorer Wilfried Bony was the star turn for visiting Vitesse, the Ivory Coast striker rattling in a hat-trick to take his tally for the season to 22 in 24 games.
Marco van Ginkel weighed in with a brace for Vitesse, while Heracles found the target through Lerin Duarte, Geoffrey Castillion and Ninos Gouriye and also lost Thomas Bruns to an 86th-minute red card.
The win sees Vitesse climb to third place, two points behind Ajax and five adrift of leaders PSV Eindhoven with both of those sides in action on Sunday.
Vitesse's climb up the order came at the expense of FC Twente, who dropped to fifth, a point behind the Arnhem club, after a 2-1 loss at Heerenveen.
The hosts went ahead through Rajiv Van La Parra after quarter of an hour. Dmitri Bulykin levelled after 54 minutes but Heerenveen wrapped up the points when Alfred Finnbogason found the target 11 minutes from time. Edson Braafheid saw red for Twente inside the final three minutes.
Michael De Leeuw popped up with a stoppage-time winner as FC Groningen climbed to ninth with a 1-0 defeat of PEC Zwolle, who stay just a point above the drop zone.
Second-bottom VVV-Venlo pulled level with Roda JC inside the relegation play-off zone after posting a 1-0 win over RKC Waalwijk courtesy of Marcel Seip 31st-minute effort.