Ricky Van Wolfswinkel

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Champions League wrap: Basel outlasts PSV; Celtic cruises

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Celtic took another step toward the UEFA Champions League group stage, adding to a comfortable first leg advantage in dispatching Estonian side Nomme Kalju on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Lukaku, Dybala swap? ]

Familiar faces Basel, Olympiacos, Ferencvaros, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, and APOEL Nicosia also clinched third qualifying round berths for early August.

FC Basel 2-1 (4-4 agg.) PSV Eindhoven

Away goals struck again, as Bruma’s 23rd minute goal was not enough to offset Basel’s three goals in the Netherlands.

PSV won 3-2 at home, but the result was not enough, as Eray Comert and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel pushed the Swiss side into the next round.

Nomme Kalju 0-2 (0-7 agg.) Celtic

A 10th minute own goal meant the Estonians’ task of overturning a 5-0 first leg deficit went from unlikely to near impossible, and Marian Shved salted the result away at stoppage time at A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.

Next up for Celtic is Romania’s CFR Cluj, who snuck past Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel.

And how about this laser from Ukrainian debutant Shved?

Olympiacos 4-0 (4-0 agg.) Viktoria Plzen
Valletta 1-1 (2-4 agg.) Ferencvaros
Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 (5-0 agg.) Saburtalo
Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-2 (2-3 agg.) CFR Cluj
APOEL Nicosia 3-0 (4-0 agg.) Sutjeska Niksic

Matt Miazga, Vitesse win Dutch League Cup

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USMNT youngster Matt Miazga started and played the full 90 minutes as Vitesse Arnhem defeated AZ Alkmaar 2-0 to win the KNVB Beker. The trophy is the club’s first in its entire 125 year history.

Former Norwich City striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel scored the winner in the 81st minute, crashing in a header past lazy AZ defenders on a pinpoint cross by 20-year-old Kosovo international Milot Rashica. The former Premier League striker struck again in the 88th minute to put the game away.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned in the North London derby ]

Miazga has been a fixture for Vitesse this season, making 21 Eredivisie appearances this season and seeing the field in every Cup game. Vitesse conceded just four goals throughout the entire Cup run, and just one over the final four games. They shut out Feyenoord in the quarterfinals, a game which Miazga was a late substitute. Vitesse also kept clean sheets against lower league opponents in Jodan Boys in the Round of 16, and again in the finals, games that Miazga saw the entire 90 minutes.

The 21-year-old American is on loan from Chelsea, and after a slow start, has earned a significant place in the side. In the latest¬†10¬†league matches for Vitesse, Miazga has played the full 90 minutes in eight¬†of them, with five wins and two clean sheets in that span. Vitesse sits in ninth position in the Eredivisie table, but their problems have come more so up front, as they’ve conceded just 38 goals in 34 matches, better than all but the top two teams in the table.

Another Chelsea loanee, central midfielder Lewis Baker, finished the competition as its top scorer, bagging five goals in Cup games. The 22-year-old England youth international had a brace in the 2-1 semifinal win over Sparta Rotterdam. Chelsea is known for its loan relationship with Vitesse, with four players currently loaned to the Dutch club.

Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel signs with former club Vitesse Arnhem

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Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Norwich City’s record transfer at the time of his purchase from Sporting CP in 2013, is moving on after a largely unsuccessful four-year stint with the Canaries.

The 27-year-old has returned to his home country, moving to Vitesse Arnhem – the club he went professional with as a 19-year-old. Van Wolfswinkel made his professional debut in April of 2008 with Vitesse, and now returns for an undisclosed fee.

Van Wolfswinkel came to Norwich in 2013 with much fanfare, signing for a reported fee of $11 million – a club record signing at the time.

He proceeded to score just a single goal in 25 appearances during his first season in the Premier League, with Norwich finding itself relegated. He moved to Ligue 1 on loan with Norwich in the Championship, but still managed just five goals in 28 league appearances with St. Etienne. He never made another appearance for the Canaries, instead moving on loan again Real Betis last season, but flopped there too, scoring just once in 16 league appearances.

“I debuted in professional football on behalf of Vitesse and that is something you never forget,” van Wolfswinkel said upon signing. “After several foreign adventures I look forward to returning to the Dutch fields. I hope to find my niche and want to play well and add many goals and assists for Vitesse.”