Ajax have kept up the pace with Feyenoord after a 4-1 victory over a plucky Heracles Almelo.

Feyenoord’s 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven meant Ajax needed to record a victory over Heracles to keep themselves five points behind the leaders, However, Heracles proved troublesome in the early stages and Samuel Armenteros had the ball in the net, but his goal was ruled out for offside, while Kristoffer Peterson had an effort cleared off the line.

In the 23rd minute, Ajax did take the lead as Kasper Dolberg reacted quickly to net on the rebound after Bram Castro saved from Davy Klaassen. However, that lead only lasted a minute before Armenteros found the net with a glancing header.

At half time, Matthias de Ligt was brought on for the injured Nick Viergever, and the 17-year-old, who had played for both the clubs U19 and U21 side earlier this week, made an instant impression with a 30-yard strike that was just tipped over the bar. On 56 minutes, the centre-back netted his first Eredivisie goal with a powerful header from a corner to put Ajax 2-1 ahead.

Davinson Sanchez then got himself on the scoresheet with a low strike from distance into the bottom corner on the hour mark. David Neres was brought off the bench for his Ajax debut before Bertrand Traore wrapped up the win late on with a close range finish.

Ajax remain five points off Feyenoord in second, while Heracles are 10th.

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