PSV Eindhoven are the new leaders in the Eredivisie after they recorded a 2-0 win at 10-man Heracles Almelo, who also missed a second-half penalty.
The victory, coupled with FC Twente's draw at De Graafschap, means the 21-time league winners head the table on goal difference at a vital stage of the season. PSV had Balazs Dzsudzsak and Marcus Berg to thank for scoring the goals to give their side all three points.
Ajax moved a point behind the leaders after recovering from a goal behind to beat NEC Nijmegen at De Goffert.
Lasse Schone fired the hosts into a fourth-minute lead but Miralem Sulejmani equalised on the stroke of half-time before Toby Alderweireld sealed a crucial win on 66 minutes. The Amsterdammers' success ensured they moved firmly into the title picture with just a point now separating the top three with three games to play.
A last-minute goal by Rogier Meijer saw FC Twente relinquish top spot after a 1-1 draw with De Graafschap.
Meijer headed home Hugo Bargas' cross from the left as De Graafschap claimed a vital point after Denny Landzaat had put the former leaders ahead with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Willem II moved a step closer to relegation with a humiliating 6-1 loss at Feyenoord. Luc Castaignos and Ryo Miyaichi bagged two goals each, while Bruno Martins Indi and Georgino Wijnaldum were also on the scoresheet as the hosts ran riot at De Kuip.
Andreas Lasnik had given Willem II the lead, but the Tilburg side then crumbled to slip to their 23rd defeat this season.