Third-placed Ajax strolled to a comfortable victory over Sparta Rotterdam at Het Kasteel to keep up the pressure on leading duo PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente.
First-half goals from Siem de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel put the visitors 2-0 up at the interval. Their one moment of concern came when Kevin Strootman struck a post before before Dennis Rommedahl made the game safe.
Strootman was the first to threaten inside two minutes as his 20-yard shot flashed wide, but Ajax went even closer seven minutes later.
Keeper Aleksandar Seliga was left flat-footed by Urby Emanuelson's fiercely struck effort him and was grateful as the ball rebounded off the upright straight into his arms.
Martin Jol's side took the lead in the 14th minute as Ayodele Adeleye's error let in Marko Pantelic. The striker set up De Jong, whose 20-yard shot took an enormous deflection on its way past Seliga.
Ajax keeper Maarten Stekelenburg denied Sparta an immediate equaliser when he saved with his foot from Darko Bodul, but Ajax went back on the attack and the unfortunate Emanuelson was again denied by the woodwork.
But they doubled their advantage 10 minutes before the break as Van der Wiel played in Rommedahl. His shot was blocked by Donovan Slijngard but Van der Wiel met the loose ball with a stunning strike into the far top corner.
Strootman was unfortunate not to halve the deficit when his free-kick rebounded off the woodwork before Ajax went back on the attack.
Pantelic was denied by Seliga when a pass to Christian Eriksen appeared a better option before the third goal arrived in the 62nd minute.
Eriksen was the provider, crossing for Denmark winger Rommedahl to convert a straightforward volley from eight yards.
Stekelenburg had to save well from Edouard Duplan after Jan Vertonghen's error, but Ajax were comfortable victors.