The European playoffs began on Saturday evening with Utrecht and Groningen coming out on top in the first legs.

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Heracles 0-2 Utrecht

Utrecht came away from Almelo with a comfortable 2-0 victory which puts them within touching distance of the final.

Heracles made a bright start but it was Utrecht who took the lead in the 36th minute from the penalty spot. Riechedly Bazoer was brought down and Simon Gustafson made no mistake with the penalty.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Cyriel Dessers headed in a free kick.

Adrian Dalmau came close with a header in the second half but Heracles could not pull a goal back.

Groningen 2-1 Vitesse

Groningen will head to Arnhem with a slender advantage.

Groningen were lively from the start but they had to wait until the stroke of halftime for the lead. Ritsu Doan’s strike was palmed away but Mimoun Mahi tapped in.

Less than ten minutes into the second half it was 2-0 through a penalty. Zeefuik was brought down and Samir Memisevic slotted in the spot kick.

Max Clark pulled one back for Vitesse with 20 minutes to go and late on the visitors came close to an equaliser. However, Sergio Padt made a great save to deny Serero.

Groningen held on and will take a lead to Arnhem next week.

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