PSV Eindhoven captures first Eredivisie title since 2008

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — PSV Eindhoven sealed its 22nd Eredivisie title and dethroned four-time defending champion Ajax when it beat SC Heernveen 4-1 on Saturday.

The title ended a seven-year drought for PSV, and earned it a place in next season's Champions League.

Luuk de Jong gave PSV a dream start by heading in a Luciano Narsingh cross in just the third minute. Memphis Depay double PSV's lead with a 20-meter free kick before Joey van den Berg pulled a goal back for Heerenveen just before the half hour.

De Jong restored PSV's two-goal cushion before halftime with another header, and PSV's fans began celebrating their title early in the second half. Narsingh completed the scoring shortly before fulltime.

The league title, PSV's first since 2008, comes just over a year after coach Phillip Cocu was forced to take an extended break after having a benign tumor removed from his back.

It also ends a run of four straight titles for rival Ajax, coached by Cocu's friend and fellow former Netherlands international Frank de Boer.

Depay and De Jong turned the match into a personal battle to become the league's top scorer.

Depay began the evening on a league-leading 19 goals and De Jong was two behind him. By the end of the first half, De Jong had netted a brace and Depay hammered in a free kick to stay on top of the scoring ladder by a single goal. The pair has three more league matches this season to boost their tallies.

De Jong could have leveled with Depay, but passed to Narsingh instead for the winger to score.

"It's great to score twice in a match like this," De Jong said.

"This is the best. We really deserve it. We've been on top of the league almost the entire season."

Depay is widely tipped to leave the club at the end of the season. His name has been linked with Manchester United, where he would join Louis van Gaal, who coached him in the Netherlands team that finished third at last year's World Cup.