Vitesse downs Venlo to solidify European hopes

Bonno Wilfried scored his 12th goal this season as Vitesse defeated Venlo, 3-1, on Thursday to solidify its spot in the Europa League playoff positions in the Eredivisie.

Alexander Buttner scored the opening goal in the 11th minute, and Wilfried had Vitesse in front by two goals inside the half-hour mark. Venlo, which lost its fifth straight, pulled a goal back in the second half but Nick Hofs sealed the win for Vitesse in stoppage time.

Vitesse won for the third time in its last five games, and sits seventh in the standings on 45 points. The fifth- to eighth-place teams advance to the league playoffs for a Europa League spot.

Venlo, which got its goal from Yanic Wildschut, lost its fifth straight and is stuck in a the relegation playoff spot in 16th.

De Graafschap snapped a six-match losing streak to move off the bottom and out of the lone automatic relegation place with 3-0 win over Utrecht. Michael de Leeuw scored a brace for De Graafschap, and Rydell Poepon also scored.

Den Haag snapped a three-game winless streak with a 3-0 win over Groningen, as it moved seven points clear of the relegation zone. Charlton Vicento, Kenneth Omeruo and Ebi Smolarek scored for Den Haag.