ROTTERDAM, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Twente Enschede had defender Rasmus Bengtsson sent off before halftime and wasted the chance to close the gap on Dutch leaders PSV Eindhoven after a surprise 4-2 home defeat against Utrecht on Sunday.
Utrecht's new signing Jens Toornstra opened the scoring on 32 minutes, netted a rebound after keeper Nikolay Mihaylov block a header from Jacob Mulenga.
Twente were reduced to 10 men just before the break when Swede Bengtsson hauled down Cedric van der Gun and Mulenga doubled Utrecht's lead from the penalty spot.
Serbian Dusan Tadic pulled one back for Twente 11 minutes after the break with a fine chip but midway through the second half Dave Bulthuis restored the two-goal lead with a header.
Tadic converted a penalty to make it 3-2 on 73 minutes but their hopes of salvaging a point were quickly ended when Mike van der Hoorn sealed Utrecht's fourth successive win.
"We lost the game through two set plays in the second half," said Twente coach Steve McClaren.
"We fell behind two goals in the first half but if you saw how we fought back with 10 men there was something in this game for us."
PSV Eindhoven, 7-0 winners over ADO Den Haag on Saturday, are top with 46 points after 21 matches, three above Ajax Amsterdam who cruised to a 3-0 win at VVV Venlo. Twente slipped to third with 42.
Ajax went ahead against Venlo on 34 minutes when Christian Eriksen set up Siem de Jong.
Second-half goals from Viktor Fischer and Derk Boerrigter sealed the points for Frank de Boer's team.
Graziano Pelle, with his 15th of the season, and a double from 18-year old Tonny Vilhena earned Feyenoord a 3-1 win at bottom side Willem II Tilburg.
Feyenoord moved up to fourth with 41 points. (Reporting by Theo Ruizenaar, editing by Justin Palmer)