NEC Nijmegen have fallen out of the automatic European places after being held to a 2-2 draw against PEC Zwolle.

The pressure was on NEC after both Ajax and Utrecht won their matches earlier on Sunday. The battle for fifth is going down to the wire but NEC were boosted by the return of key midfielder Dirk Proper.

PEC Zwolle stunned the hosts after 10 minutes with Thomas Lam beating Jasper Cillessen from long range to make it 1-0 for the visitors.

Jasper Schendelaar then kept PEC Zwolle ahead in the first half with a number of saves. However, he was finally beaten when Koki Ogawa made it 1-1 with a fierce strike in the 47th minute.

Ogawa then quickly made it 2-1 for NEC with a penalty and it appeared that the hosts were heading for victory. However, in the 68th minute, Odysseus Velanas made it 2-2 with an excellent strike past Cillessen after a free-kick routine.

NEC then pushed for a late winner but Schendelaar denied them and PEC Zwolle hung on for a point.

NEC are now sixth and one point behind Ajax while PEC Zwolle are 13th.

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