Ajax let title rivals PSV back in the race after the Eredivisie leaders were held to a 2-2 draw by Utrecht at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday.
Frank de Boer’s side were looking to respond to PSV, who beat Roda JC 3-0 on Saturday, but they got off to a bad start when the visitors took the lead through Nacer Barazite on 56 minutes.
The Amsterdam giants looked down and out after Patrick Joosten doubled Utrecht’s advantage six minutes from time, but two goals in the space of three minutes from Davy Klaassen (86′) and Arek Milik (89′ pen) secured an unlikely share of the spoils.
De Godenzonen remain top of the pile on 75 points, although PSV are level with the league leaders, who have a superior goal difference, while Erik ten Hag’s team strengthened their bid for European football to end the weekend in fifth spot.
Elsewhere, NEC kept their Europa League dreams in tact with a 2-1 win over rock-bottom Cambuur at the Goffertstadion, which moved them up to seventh place.
Second-half goals from Christian Santos (54′) and Mihai Roman (69′) secured the three points for the hosts, with Jerge Hoefdraad halving the deficit for SSC 14 minutes from time.
Meanwhile, struggling Excelsior picked up a vital point in their battle against relegation following a 1-1 draw with Heerenveen at Stadion Woudestein.
Brandley Kuwas gave the hosts a 37th-minute lead, but it was quickly cancelled out by Sam Larsson four minutes later as the two teams were made to settle for a share of the spoils.
The 15th-placed Kralingers halted a three-match losing streak to climb out of the bottom-three, while Foppe de Haan’s side remain in 12th spot after extending their unbeaten run to three games.
Willem II got dragged into the relegation zone after they suffered a 2-0 defeat to ADO Den Haag at Koning Willem II Stadion.
The visitors took the lead through Mike Havenaar on 20 minutes, with a 60th-minute own-goal from Frank van der Struijk inflicting a sixth loss on the trot for the 16th-placed Tricolores.
The Hague outfit closed to within five points of the European places in 10th spot.
Ajax 2-2 Utrecht
Willem II 0-2 ADO Den Haag
NEC 2-1 Cambuur
Excelsior 1-1 Heerenveen