FC Utrecht made sure of their place in the Europa League play-offs and condemned Sparta Rotterdam to the relegation edition with a comprehensive win at the Sparta-Stadion.
Goals from Jacob Lensky, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Erixon Danso earned the three points, but Sparta did not help themselves with Rydell Poepon missing a penalty on the stroke of half-time with the score only 1-0.
The result, combined with NAC Breda's goalless draw at Heerenveen, guarantees Utrecht seventh place.
For Sparta, meanwhile, defeat coupled with ADO Den Haag's 4-0 rout of RKC Waalwijk leaves them destined for a tense battle for survival once the regular season wraps up next week.
It was not for lack of trying, at least in the first half, when they gave as good as they got.
Poepon's 19th minute shot from the edge of the area was only parried by Michael Vorm, but Ediuard Duplan could not find the net with his follow-up as he shot too close to the recovering goalkeeper.
They were punished for the miss as Utrecht took the lead a minute later as Lensky lashed in a superb effort which flew into the top left-hand corner from just outside the area.
Sparta had a golden chance to equalise on half-time when Vorm brought down Poepon inside the area.
The goalkeeper was punished with only a yellow card, allowing him to make the save as Poepon shot tamely for the left-hand corner.
But if Sparta had been able to create chances in the first half, it was all Utrecht after the break.
Van Wolfswinkel missed from close range soon after the re-start, but he doubled he side's lead in the 65th minute.
Fries Mertens' free-kick struck the wall, but the ball fell for Van Wolfswinkel who broke through before lobbing Alaksander Seliga to find the net.
Utrecht wrapped up victory 14 minutes from time as Danso scored on his side's third attempt. Jacob Mulenga's shot was parried by Seliga, Nana Asare struck the crossbar with a header on the follow-up, but Danso was on hand to slot the ball home.