Eredivisie wrap: AZ return to the summit
AZ Alkmaar brushed aside Heracles 3-1 to return to the top of the Eredivisie at PSV's expense ahead of their game on Sunday.
Goals from Simon Poulsen (31'), Jozy Altidore (43') and Adam Maher (52') built what looked an insurmountable lead for AZ until Nick Viergever was given his marching orders as the last man in the 56th minute.
Willy Overtoom scored from the resulting penalty to give Heracles hope but the leaders held out resolutely.
PSV have a chance to overturn the one-point deficit and regain the lead when they entertain third-placed FC Twente on Sunday.
VVV Venlo continued their stunning revival with a fourth-straight win to draw level with three clubs on the cusp of the relegation zone.
Strikes from Robert Cullen and Maya Yoshida earned VVV a 2-1 win over NAC Breda, lifting them level on 25 points with their opponents, Utrecht and ADO Den Haag, all of which are outside the drop zone.
VVV have now picked up 12 points in their last four matches and are only goal difference away from safety after being bottom of the table in early February with just 13 points from their opening 20 matches.
Fourth-placed Heerenveen missed the opportunity to move above Twente as they were held to a goalless draw at struggling ADO Den Haag.
Rock bottom Excelsior suffered a 1-0 defeat away to RKC Waalwijk with Geoffrey Castillon scoring the only goal of the game right on half-time.