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By ESPN Staff

Den Haag on the brink of Europe

Jens Toornstra's hat-trick helped put ADO Den Haag on the brink of a place in Europe with a 5-1 win over Groningen in the first leg of their play-off final.

The Hague-based club were almost relegated from the Eredivisie 12 months ago, but now they are almost certain to qualify for Europe for only the second time in their history thanks to Toornstra's fireworks, as well as goals from Lex Immers and Ramon Leeuwin.

The only blot was an away goal for Groningen, bagged by Jonas Ivens when the score was 2-0.

In the relegation play-offs, there was also a 5-1 win for Excelsior as both they and VVV-Venlo put themselves in strong positions to retain their top-flight status.

Excelsior were completely dominant at Helmond Sport, opening the scoring through Roland Bergkamp after four minutes, then adding second-half strikes courtesy of Ryan Koolwijk from the penalty spot, Guyon Fernandez, Kevin Wattamaleo and Edwin De Graaf.

VVV were also winners at FC Zwolle, establishing a 2-1 advantage thanks to a double from Michael Uchebo. Arne Slot netted a penalty three minutes from time to keep Zwolle firmly in contention.

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