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UEFA Champions League
August 27, 2014
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: Pedro Proença
• Attendance: 59946
A. Sánchez 45'+
Arsenal win Aggregate 1 - 0
That's all from me on this live commentary as Arsenal once again earn their place in the Champions League group stages. The Gunners will be in the No.1 pot for Thursday's draw in Monaco and will be hoping for a kinder draw than last season when they faced Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille. Thanks for joining me and make sure to come back soon.
Arsenal fans, has your heartbeat returned to normal? Arsene Wenger will no doubt be delighted that his side have sealed qualification but he will have concerns over the performance. Besiktas may look back at that penalty decision as the turning moment of the game but they can take immense credit for their display this evening.
Elsewhere in the Champions League this evening, Bayer Leverkusen, Athletic Bilbao and Malmo have all advanced to the group stages. The game between Ludogorets and Steaua Bucharest is currently in extra time, with the scores level at 1-1 on aggregate.
FT: Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas. Alexis Sanchez's first goal for the club gives Arsene Wenger's side a hard-earned victory against a resilient Besiktas outfit. Mathieu Debuchy's second-half dismissal put the Gunners under heavy pressure late on but Arsenal survived a late onslaught to earn a place in Thursday's group stage draw.
90' + 4'
The referee looks at his watch and blows his final whistle! Arsenal are into the Champions League group stages for the 17th consecutive season!
90' + 3'
Besiktas continue to threaten late on but Ozyakup's dangerous low cross is crucially cleared by Mertesacker. The Arsenal fans are desperate for the full-time whistle. They can almost taste the group stages.
90' + 2'
Besiktas work the ball out to the left-hand side excellently but Motta's teasing cross is plucked out of the air convincingly by Szczesny. Wilshere then launches a counterattack for Arsenal and the home fans are furious when a foul on Alexis doesn't result in a free kick. Besiktas come forward again...
Yellow Card Gökhan Töre
There will be FOUR minutes of stoppage time. Can Arsenal hang onto their lead and secure a place in the Champions League group stage for the 17th consecutive season?
WHAT A CHANCE FOR BA! Tore has made a magnificent impact for Besiktas since coming on and he delivers a peach of a cross towards the back post which Ba somehow glances wide after escaping the surveillance of Koscielny. Slaven Bilic jumps up from his seat in the director's box - he cannot believe the Senegalese striker has missed that.
Besiktas are desperate to find a late equaliser that would send them through to the group stages and they introduce Cenk Tosun in place of Mustafa Pektemek. Arsenal have every player pegged back inside their own half as they look to hold onto their slender advantage.
Yellow Card Wojciech Szczesny
Santi Cazorla is determined to help Arsenal see out the remaining few minutes and he defends excellently to help the home side win a goal kick after a sustained spell of Besiktas pressure. Szczesny then picks up a needless booking for timewasting.
Yellow Card Necip Uysal
This game is set up for a terrific finale and both teams are taking it in turns to come forward and exchange blows. Oxlade-Chamberlain embarks on another trademark run down the right but his low cross is excellently hacked clear by Gulum.
Tore has made a terrific impact since coming on for Besiktas and he curls a teasing cross into the box which is glanced wide by the head of Hutchinson. The summer signing from Rubin Kazan then picks up the ball on the edge of the box before his low strike is excellently blocked by Koscielny. Nailbiting moments for Arsenal supporters.
Cazorla delivers another teasing cross into the box but it just evades the outstretched boot of Koscielny in the middle. Are Arsenal going to rue these missed opportunities?
Yellow Card Atiba Hutchinson
Chambers almost makes an immediate impact as he surges down the right before picking out Alexis in the middle. However, the Chilean was leaning back as he took his shot and his effort goes high over the bar.
Yellow Card Calum Chambers
Mesut Ozil is the player to be sacrificed as Calum Chambers comes on at right-back. The teenager picks up a bizarre yellow card however as the referee adjudges that he came onto the field too early and without his permission.
Yellow/Red Mathieu Debuchy
Debuchy has enjoyed a terrific evening for the Gunners but he is given his marching orders when he brings down Kavlak on a Besiktas counterattack. He certainly seemed to get his foot on the ball but the referee adjudges that he was too aggressive and brandishes a second yellow card.
HOW DID ARSENAL NOT SCORE?! Cazorla launches a terrific counter attack for the Gunners before slipping in Alexis on the right. The Chilean returns the ball to the Spaniard on the edge of the box but his shot is excellently blocked. The danger is not over for Besiktas just yet however as Monreal curls in a brilliant cross towards Oxlade-Chamberlain but the England international somehow strikes straight at Zengin from a few yards out.
The Arsenal fans continue to bite their fingernails as Besiktas go close once again. Tore attempts to slip a pass into Ba inside the box but Koscielny nips in to make a crucial interception.
Arsenal are looking short of ideas in their pursuit of a second goal and there are some tired legs out there for the Gunners. Surely Wenger must be contemplating some substitutions soon?
Ozil delivers a teasing free kick from the right but Besiktas clear the ball excellently towards the edge of the box. It falls to the feet of Cazorla but his thumping first-time drive cracks against the outside of the post. It would not have counted though as the referee deemed that Oxlade-Chamberlain had committed a foul in the box.
Alexis Sanchez embarks on a mazy dribble down the right but his route towards goal is eventually blocked by Hutchinson. The Arsenal fans are getting increasingly nervous here as this game ticks towards its conclusion but it should perhaps be pointed out that Arsenal have never shipped a goal at home to Turkish opponents.
Besiktas are enjoying a good spell at the moment and Tore sees his through ball well intercepted by Koscielny. Arsenal need a second goal here.
CHANCE FOR BESIKTAS! Tore instantly gets involved in the action as Flamini's error allows him to pick out Ba inside the box. However, the former Chelsea striker cannot find the equaliser as he blasts a shot into the side netting. That was a let-off for the hosts.
Olcay Sahan has caused Arsenal plenty of problems with his runs into wide areas this evening. However, his match is brought to an early end as summer signing Gokhan Tore comes on to replace him.
ARSENAL GO CLOSE AGAIN! Cazorla delivers an inviting cross towards the back post and Debuchy ghosts in unmarked before planting a header into the side netting. The French defender has been tremendous this evening and he was unlucky not to open his Arsenal account there.
Yellow Card P. Franco
Besiktas are starting to show more urgency in attack now, throwing more bodies forward in search of the equaliser. However, an Arsenal break allows Wilshere to embark on a bulldozing run through the midfield before Ozil draws a foul from Franco on the left corner of the box, resulting in a yellow card for the Colombian defender. Can Arsenal take advantage from this set-piece?
Ozyakup has enjoyed a good performance on his return to the Emirates Stadium but he cannot find the equaliser on this occasion as his free kick curls high over the bar.
It's end-to-end football at the moment as both sides desperately attempt to obtain the advantage. Debuchy produces a brilliant interception to prevent Ba latching onto a through ball inside the Arsenal penalty area before Gulum then executes another fantastic block to deny Oxlade-Chamberlain from doubling Arsenal's lead.
SO CLOSE TO 2-0! Wilshere has produced some excellent touches in the Arsenal midfield today and he again produces some good footwork to feed Alexis inside the box. The Chilean looks to flick a shot into the far corner but Gulum gets a crucial nick on the ball to turn it behind for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Koscielny heads straight into the gloves of Zengin.
Debuchy and Oxlade-Chamberlain have formed a good relationship down the right and the England midfielder gets in behind the Besiktas defence with a clever run. Oxlade-Chamberlain attempts to round Zengin but the Besiktas goalkeeper just manages to get a toe on the ball to divert it behind for a corner.
The Arsenal supporters are really getting behind their side now as they urge them forward in search of a second goal. Oxlade-Chamberlain continues his lively start to the second half by neatly picking out Cazorla on the left corner of the box but the Spaniard cannot find the far corner with his drilled low effort.
Arsenal make a bright start to the second half with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis combining neatly down the right. The England attacker picks out Cazorla on the edge of the box but he dallies in possession and has the ball nipped off his toes just as he was about to shoot.
Besiktas are unbeaten in their last three Champions League away games, with that run containing a famous 1-0 success at Manchester United in the 2009/10 group phase - and it is they who kick-off the second half.
HT: Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas. Alexis Sanchez's first goal for the club gives Arsene Wenger's side a slender advantage at the break. Besiktas had proved more than a match for the Gunners in the opening 45 minutes, producing a resilient and organised defensive effort to limit the attempts on Zengin's goal, and they will feel hard done by after having a decent penalty appeal turned down. It's not been a vintage attacking display from Arsenal and they know that they cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal as an away goal for Besiktas would put the Turkish side in the driving seat.
45' + 1'
Assist Jack Wilshere
45' + 1'
Goal Alexis Sánchez
ALEXIS GIVES ARSENAL THE LEAD! The Chilean has his first goal for Arsenal and what a time to score it! Wilshere does brilliantly to poke a ball to Ozil on the edge of the box and the German attempts to flick it back into the path of his teammate. There is a bit too much pace on Ozil's return pass but it falls kindly to Alexis inside the box and he strokes a low shot under Zengin's outstretched arm and into the bottom corner.
Arsenal produce some tidy passages of passing around the Besiktas box but once again, they cannot find that killer pass and the opportunity breaks down. It seems that we will be heading into the break goalless.
Wilshere nearly produces a moment of magic at the other end as he chips a clever pass towards Alexis inside the box. However, the Chilean cannot dink his effort over the advancing Zengin and another Arsenal attack breaks down.
PENALTY APPEAL FOR BESIKTAS! The travelling supporters are furious that they are not awarded a penalty and it seems that they may have a case. Motta slips a neat pass down the left wing for Sahan to chase before continuing his run into the box and receiving the cutback. The left-back pulls back his left boot to shoot but collapses to the ground under a clumsy-looking challenge from Wilshere. Pedro Proenca is not convinced however and he waves play on, much to the relief of the Emirates faithful.
Slaven Bilic may not be on the touchline tonight due to his sending off in the first leg but the Besiktas coach will be delighted with his side's performance in this first half. The Turkish side have looked calm in possession, a danger on the counter and Zengin has been relatively untroubled in goal. Lots for Arsene Wenger to ponder at the break.
That chance seems to have rattled Arsenal and Cazorla sees his shot blocked by Hutchinson before Monreal wastefully slices an effort over the bar. Will we see a goal before the half-time whistle?
GREAT CHALLENGE FROM DEBUCHY! Arsenal fans have their hearts in their mouths as Pektemek produces a splendid turn to spin away from Koscielny into the penalty area. The Turkish forward is ready to pull the trigger but Debuchy races across to make a superbly-timed challenge.
Besiktas take a breather from their defensive duties as Sahan embarks on a dribble upfield. However, the chance comes to nothing as the Turkish forward comically loses his footing as he approaches the penalty area. Ozyakup then picks up a booking for a cynical trip on Koscielny.
Yellow Card Oğuzhan Özyakup
Arsene Wenger continues to look increasingly frustrated as his side fail to find that killer pass in the final third. Alexis has struggled to receive the ball in advanced areas and the Gunners certainly seem to be missing those late runs into the box by Ramsey.
Debuchy has been in the thick of the action in this first half and he requires a spot of treatment after a nasty collision with Motta. Both players are safely back on their feet though and look fine to continue.
Ozil gets the crowd up on their feet as he produces a neat piece of skill to jink past Koybasi down the left. However, he cannot find the pass to match as a breakdown in communication between him and Alexis results in the Turkish side quickly regaining possession.
Besiktas are certainly not afraid to commit bodies forward in search of the away goal but they once again fail to test Szczesny as Cazorla shows good defensive resistance to smuggle the ball away from Kavlak.
Arsenal win a free kick in a dangerous position outside the box. Alexis steps up to take it but his dipping effort goes straight into the grateful gloves of Zengin.
Yellow Card Veli Kavlak
Debuchy gets forward excellently for Arsenal down the right once again and he delivers a teasing cross into the Besiktas box. Ozil cannot take the ball under control at the first attempt however and the move breaks down when Alexis fails to find the German with his reverse pass.
Demba Ba is looking to get in between Mertesacker and Koscielny and he makes a smart run to evade the Arsenal centre-back pairing as he looks to meet Sahan's through ball. However, Szczesny rushes off his line quickly to claim the ball right on the very edge of the penalty area.
Wilshere has been heavily criticised for his early performances this season but the England midfielder has made a bright start here. He slips a tidy pass into Ozil's path down the left but the World Cup winner's low cross is well cleared by Hutchinson.
Yellow Card Mathieu Debuchy
Besiktas are knocking the ball about at pace but Pektemek's attempted through pass is hoofed upfield by Mertesacker. Chamberlain then embarks on a scintillating dribble down the right for Arsenal but Motta sticks to his task well and produces a well-timed challenge.
Yellow Card Mathieu Debuchy
Debuchy picks up the first booking of the game after mistiming an aerial challenge with Sahan. Arsene Wenger has spoken of the importance of discipline in this contest and he is not happy to see the referee brandish an early yellow card.
Ba has made a bright start for the visitors and the Senegalese striker sees his through ball, intended for Sahan, crucially intercepted by Debuchy. You can feel the tension inside the Emirates this evening - that first goal is so crucial.
Besiktas are starting to show a few nerves now and Zengin breathes a huge sigh of relief as his sloppy goal kick is lobbed wide by Cazorla, with the goalkeeper way off his line.
BIG CHANCE FOR ARSENAL! A stray pass from Besiktas gifts Alexis possession inside the opposition half and he powers his way towards the box before being brought down by a defender. The referee allows play to continue and Wilshere nips beyond the Turkish defence before dragging his shot inches past the post. That was close!
Besiktas are doing the majority of the defending in the opening stages, as you would perhaps expect. However, they have dealt well with the hosts so far, not affording them any time to settle on the ball. Cazorla whips in a free kick from the left but Zengin rises highest to calmly pluck the ball out of the air.
Arsenal's season has already been filled with plenty of drama so far. The Gunners opened their Premier League campaign with a last-gasp victory over Crystal Palace before staging a late comeback to rescue a point against Everton at the weekend. It looks set to be another anxious night for Arsenal fans this evening, especially if Besiktas score an early away goal.
Flamini has got an important job in front of the Arsenal back four this evening and he produces an early crunching challenge on former Gunner Ozyakup. Debuchy continues his lively start with a marauding run down the right and his cross is deflected behind for the game's first corner, which Mertesacker cannot divert on target.
Arsenal will need to be careful of the Besiktas counterattack however and the visitors threaten for the first time as Ba sees his ambitious strike well blocked by Monreal. It's been a very lively start!
Arsenal make a good start down the right with Debuchy getting forward early on. The Frenchman slips in Oxlade-Chamberlain but his dangerous low cross is well blocked by Hutchinson.
Pedro Proenca blows his whistle and Arsenal, in their famous red and white jerseys, get this Champions League play-off second leg underway. Can they qualify for the group stages for the 17th consecutive campaign?
Captains Per Mertesacker and Tolga Zengin begin the handshakes between the respective sides and after Besiktas engage in a pre-match huddle, we are ready for this game to get underway.
The two teams emerge from the tunnel to a fantastic reception from both sets of supporters. The Besiktas fans are certainly making themselves heard this evening and they make up a noisy section in one corner of the Emirates Stadium. Tonight's referee is Pedro Proenca, who was Portugal's representative at the 2014 World Cup.
Former Arsenal midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup starts in the Besiktas midfield on his return to the Emirates Stadium while there is another familiar face in the Turkish side's lineup as Demba Ba starts up front. Can the former Chelsea striker haunt the Gunners on his return to London?
With Olivier Giroud set for a long spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, Arsene Wenger decides to go with Alexis Sanchez as the lone striker. Santi Cazorla starts on the left of midfield, with Mesut Ozil taking up a more central position due to Aaron Ramsey's suspension. Laurent Koscielny partners Per Mertesacker in the heart of defence, with Calum Chambers dropping to the bench.
Besiktas subs: Gonen, Kurtulus, Sivok, Tore, Uysal, Frei, Tosun
BESIKTAS (4-3-3): Zengin; Koybasi, Franco, Gulum, Motta; Kavlak, Hutchinson, Ozyakup; Sahan, Ba, Pektemek.
Arsenal subs: Martinez, Chambers, Coquelin, Rosicky, Podolski, Campbell, Sanogo.
ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Wilshere, Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla; Alexis.
Without further ado, here is the team news, starting with an Olivier Giroud-less Arsenal...
Besiktas are bidding to return to the Champions League group stages for the first time in five seasons and Croatian boss Slaven Bilic has been talking up his team's hopes, claiming that his side do not fear Arsenal's glittering cast of internationals. Besiktas may be the underdogs today but Bilic will certainly have his players feeling confident going into this one.
Arsene Wenger's side have a good home record in Europe and they have won all six of their previous Champions League play-off matches in North London. Arsenal have also never lost a competitive fixture to Turkish opposition in 90 minutes (though they did lose the 2000 UEFA Cup final to Galatasaray on penalties), winning four and drawing four.
Hello and welcome to this live commentary as Arsenal attempt to reach the UEFA Champions League group stages for a 17th consecutive season. However, the Gunners face a stern test at the Emirates Stadium this evening as they host a Besiktas side who caused them plenty of problems in the 0-0 first-leg draw in Turkey eight days ago.
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