Alkmaar beat Graafschap to clinch 'winter' title

Leaders AZ Alkmaar cruised to a 4-0 home win over struggling Graafschap Doetinchem in the Dutch league on Saturday to clinch the 'winter' title.

Australian Brett Holman inspired Alkmaar in the first half, setting up Adam Maher after 22 minutes to open the scoring and connecting with Simon Poulsen nine minutes later to double the lead.

An own goal by Vito Wormgoor settled the match before Charlison Benschop added a fourth.

Alkmaar are top with 38 points from 16 games heading into the winter break, four points ahead of PSV Eindhoven, who beat NAC Breda 1-0.

Dries Mertens scored his 13th of the season in the 37th minute for PSV, who had Jeremain Lens sent off in injury-time for a second bookable offence.

Twente Enschede are third with 33 points following a 2-0 win over NEC Nijmegen. Heerenveen, in fourth, thrashed lowly Excelsior Rotterdam 5-0 with striker Bas Dost scoring all five.

Luuk de Jong powered through the Nijmegen defence 12 minutes into the second half, and he set up Nacer Chadli after 73 minutes, who sealed victory with a shot from a tight angle.

Bas Dost headed home the opener for Heerenveen after 13 minutes and completed his hat-trick before half-time, while two second-half goals lifted his total to 14 to top the scorers' list.