When AZ Alkmaar ran out on to their home ground they knew victory against NEC Nijmegen would be enough to take them to the top of the table, following Feyenoord's shock loss at FC Utrecht in Sunday's early game.
Louis Van Gaal's free-scoring team took the lead after just 20 minutes when Dane Kenneth Perez scored his 7th league goal of the season following good work and a clever cross from Stijn Schaars.
From that point lowly NEC Nijmegen might have been expected to fold, but they quickly scored an equaliser with Guilliano Grot finding the target after a quick counter-attack.
Former Ajax and Barcelona manager Van Gaal was clearly alarmed by the ease with which the equaliser came, but soon after half-time his team restored their lead through Tarik Sektioui.
The Morrocan striker scrambled in the goal after the NEC Nijmegen defence failed to deal with a straight forward free-kick.
But again AZ failed to hold on to their lead.
Guilliano Grot seemed to foul Kew Jaliens near the half-way line, but the referee waved play on and the visitors did just that, with Andrzej Niedzielan making it 2-2 much to the annoyance of the home fans, whose whistles suggested they were blaming the referee.
AZ had been hoping for an easier contest after their exertions on Thursday night, when they booked their place in the UEFA Cup group stages with a hard-fought win over Krylia Sovetov, but they responded to the challenge and found a winner.
Former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze solidified his standing at the top of the league goalscoring charts with his 10th of the season.
AZ didn't let the lead slip for a third time, and the 3-2 win was enough to take them above Feyenoord at the top of the table on goal difference. (AP)