Ten-man Arsenal edge through

Paris :  A goal by Chilean star Alexis Sanchez saw Arsenal scrape into the Champions League group stages as they beat a plucky Turkish outfit Besiktas 1-0 in their play-off second leg clash for a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Arsene Wenger’s side managed to hold on despite being reduced to 10 men, like the first leg when Aaron Ramsey was red-carded after Mathieu Debuchy was sent off for a second bookable offence in the second-half on Wednesday.

“We produced the performance we wanted on the tactical side, on the technical side, and on the mental side,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who may still have to sign a striker as Frenchman Olivier Giroud will be out for up to four months after undergoing surgery on a broken tibia.

“We were at the level that was requested tonight against a good team, but we couldn’t finish the game off and that made it nervous in the last 10 minutes when we were down to 10 men.”

His Besiktas counterpart, the former Croatia national handler Slaven Bilic will have to content himself with the Europa League.

“Of course we are gutted, because we played good in both games and are close to qualifying for the Champions League against great opponents,” Bilic said. “Those couple of chances we had to score, but we didn’t. Congratulations to Arsenal. They had the experience and quality.” —AFP

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