Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas (agg 1-0): Alexis sends 10-man Gunners through

Arsenal's big summer signing made a major impact Wednesday, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win to send the Gunners into the Champions League group stage.

Alexis Sanchez's first Arsenal goal secured the club's spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage as the Gunners beat Besiktas 1-0 at the Emirates.

The Chilean forward, who has largely flattered to deceive since making a high-profile move from Barcelona, struck just before halftime in Wednesday's second leg playoff.

His effort, backed up by a stellar showing from Jack Wilshere and some dogged defending following Mathieu Debuchy's 76th-minute red card, was enough to see the Premier League side progress to the competition proper for the 17th successive year.


Arsenal began quickly and pressed forward with regularity.

The club's approach almost reaped immediate reward, but Wilshere could only drag an effort wide after bursting through from midfield.

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Santi Cazorla was the next to threaten, intercepting a dreadful clearance from Tolga Zengin before sending a first-time effort wide with the goalkeeper a long way off his line.

The Premier League side continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession, although Besiktas and, in particular, Demba Ba looked threatening on the counterattack.

As the half wore on, though, it was the visiting side which began to dominate, with Ramon Motta seeing a strong penalty appeal turned down following a wild Wilshere challenge.

The home nerves were finally eased just before halftime, as Nacho Monreal's through ball went through the legs of Wilshere to leave Alexis with the simplest of finishes.

Far from thinking it was a case of 'job done', Arsenal picked up where it had left off after the interval, Cazorla flashing an effort just wide having been picked out by the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Alexis almost grabbed his second soon afterwards, his poked effort deflecting just wide following a superb Wilshere pass.

The home side was clearly determined to avoid any late drama but could not find a cutting edge in front of goal, as Debuchy headed Cazorla's superb set piece into the side netting with time running out.

The tension was taken up another notch when Ba found space in the area and narrowly missed the target at the other end.

With 14 minutes left, Arsenal was hanging on as Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain both missed glorious chances from close range before Debuchy saw red for a second yellow card.

Calum Chambers replaced Mesut Ozil as a result, but it needed a late miss from Ba, who failed to meet Gokhan Tore's cross with the goal gaping, before Arsenal could be sure of a spot in Thursday's draw.