Groningen moved closer to the European playoff spots with a 3-2 victory over 10-man VVV Venlo.

With Ajax reaching the KNVB Cup final, 8th spot in the Eredivisie is now a possible European playoff spot. Groningen and VVV Venlo both hope to be in the running to snatch it should Ajax prevail over Willem II in the final.

VVV Venlo survived an early scare as Kaj Sierhuis crashed the ball off the bar and they took the lead in the 20th minute. A corner was knocked into the path of Danny Post who rifled past Sergio Padt.

However, before the break, Groningen were twice awarded penalties for handballs by Peter van Ooijen and a Penile Mlapa, with Mimoun Mahi netting both to make it 2-1. The visitors were also reduced to ten men when
Moreno Rutten was shown a red card for a rash challenge. Serdar Gözübüyük gave a yellow first, but decided otherwise after seeing the video images.

Despite being a man down, VVV equalised just moments into the second half when Mlapa latched onto a poor defensive header before slotting past Padt.

VVV missed chances to take the lead before Groningen found the winning goal through Iliass Bel Hassani. The midfielder found the bottom corner with a strike from just outside the box.

Sierhuis missed a good chance to extend the lead further, but it didn’t matter in the end despite Ritsu Doan being sent off for a second yellow card.

The victory means Groningen are now eighth with VVV one spot behind them.

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