Viktor Elm netted a stoppage-time winner as Heerenveen defeated nine-man FC Groningen 2-1 to move level on points with Ajax and enhance their bid for European football next season.
Groningen had Martijn Meerdink dismissed for a second bookable offence after 25 minutes but the hosts could not capitalise until Christian Grindheim struck 14 minutes into the second half.
However, the visitors levelled when Danny Holla scored before Gonzalo Garcia was also sent off for two bookable offences.
Heerenveen finally made their numerical advantage tell when Elm struck a 90th-minute goal to secure a 15th win of the season.
De Graafschap heeded Darije Kalezic’s pre-match rallying cry with a 1-0 win over Heracles Almelo.
Luuk de Jong’s goal early in the second half was enough for the home side to secure victory and three crucial points.