Champions League

Arsenal sneak back into CL

2014-08-27 22:56
Arsenal (AFP)

London - Alexis Sanchez's first Arsenal goal earned his side a nervy 1-0 victory over Besiktas on Wednesday that saw them squeeze into the Champions League for the 17th consecutive season.

The Chilean, Arsenal's number 17, repaid the first instalment of his £30 million transfer fee by tucking away a low shot in first-half stoppage time, but the hosts' inability to kill the game off made for a night of nail-biting tension at the Emirates Stadium.

Mathieu Debuchy's dismissal for two yellow cards meant that Arsenal saw out the last 15 minutes with 10 men, but although a solitary goal would have been enough to send the Turkish side through after last week's goalless draw in Istanbul, the hosts held on for a 1-0 aggregate win.

Arsene Wenger's side, who lost to Bayern Munich in the last 16 last season, will discover the identities of their group-phase opponents in Thursday's draw.

Arsenal were missing Aaron Ramsey through suspension, while Olivier Giroud's absence due to an ankle injury saw Sanchez handed another opportunity to prove he can lead the line on his own.

Though Arsenal initially took control, their chances owed more to serendipity than intricate build-up play.

Jack Wilshere slid a shot wide after Sanchez had been bundled over, while Santi Cazorla should have done better than slam the ball wide from 40 yards when visiting goalkeeper Tolga Zengin fluffed a kick.

Besiktas, meanwhile, had two penalty appeals waved away, first when Mustafa Pektemek tumbled under a challenge from Debuchy and then when Wilshere needlessly slid in from behind on Ramon Motta.

Reprieved, Wilshere then set Sanchez free, only for Zengin to save at the former Barcelona forward's feet, but in first-half injury time the same two players combined to put Arsenal ahead.

When Debuchy's cross was headed clear, Wilshere toed the ball to Mesut Ozil and although the England midfielder could not take the German's return pass into his stride, the ball broke kindly for Sanchez to roll a low shot past Zengin.

Eager to make their place in the group-phase safe, Arsenal started the second period strongly and forced the visitors onto the back foot.

Cazorla drilled the ball across goal from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pass, Sanchez poked wide after being neatly teed up by Wilshere, and Debuchy headed wide at the back post from an in-swinging Cazorla free-kick.

The visitors remained a threat, however, and after Debuchy had alertly thwarted Demba Ba, the former Chelsea striker lashed a shot into the side-netting.

Oxlade-Chamberlain should have doubled Arsenal's lead when he shot straight at Zengin from Nacho Monreal's low cross and the hosts' task was further complicated when Debuchy saw red after tugging back Pektemek.

In a moment of farce, Wenger introduced defender Calum Chambers in place of Ozil, only for the former Southampton youngster to be booked by Portuguese official Pedro Proenca for entering the field of play too quickly.

With visiting coach Slaven Bilic watching animatedly from the stands following his dismissal in the first leg, Besiktas pressed hard in the closing stages, but Arsenal clung on to condemn their opponents to the Europa League.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.