Alkmaar, Netherlands – AZ Alkmaar moved to the top of the 1 win at home against Heracles.
Second-place PSV Eindhoven and third-place Twente will play on Sunday with PSV having a chance to take back the top spot with a win as they trail AZ by one point.
First-half goals from Simon Poulsen and Jozy Altidore had the home side ahead at the break before Adam Maher added a third goal in the 52nd minute to further cushion the lead.
AZ's Nick Viergever was sent off in the 56th minute for a foul inside the penalty area and Willy Overtoom converted the subsequent spot kick to make it 3-1.
But AZ was hardly troubled over the final 30 minutes and held on for its first league win in three games.
Venlo improved its survival hopes with a late rally to top NAC, 2-1, as goals from Robert Cullen and Maya Yoshida in the last five minutes erased an own goal from Ismo Vostermans that handed NAC the lead early in the second half.
Den Haag remained above the bottom three on goal difference after holding Heerenveen to a 0-0 draw, while RKC Waalwijk downed last-place Excelsior, 1-0, on a goal from Geoffrey Castillion just before halftime.