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Arsenal draw with Besiktas in Champions League play-off

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Arsenal were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Besiktas in the first leg of their Champions League play-off in Turkey.

The Gunners struggled for much of the contest, following up their lacklustre Premier League performance against Crystal Palace - which they won 2-1 - with another disappointing showing.

Ramsey's red

That said, the result puts Arsene Wenger's side in the driving seat ahead of next week's second leg at the Emirates Stadium, although Aaron Ramsey will miss out after being sent-off in the closing stages. Besiktas boss Slaven Bilic was also sent to the stands in one of the final acts of the contest.

It could have been different had Demba Ba scored inside 10 seconds, with the Senegalese striker catching Wojciech Szczesny off guard from the kick-off with a long-range effort. The Pole just about got something on it as the bar came to the rescue of the visitors.

Ba had the best chances for the hosts in the half, forcing a good save with a volley before dragging a shot just wide after turning Laurent Koscielny. At the other end, Alexis Sanchez looked dangerous but Olivier Giroud spurned a couple of decent chances.

Poor pitch

A game that threatened to improve never did in the second 45 minutes, with a poor pitch proving to be the downfall of quality play. Olcay Sahan can't blame the surface for his miss though, curling the ball wide after cutting inside the Arsenal box.

Ramsey's second yellow for a cynical and unnecessary pull back seemed to be the end of the drama, although substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost changed that at the death when he beat two players and drilled a low show towards goal. It would have been the winner but for a wonderful save from Tolga Zengin.

Arsenal favourites

Bilic found himself heading for the tunnel in injury-time after another rant at the referee, but the former Croatia boss will be hoping to face no further action and take his place on the bench in north London next Wednesday.

The tie is evenly poised, but Arsenal will be favourites to reach the group stage of the competition once again.

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Topics:
Arsenal
UEFA Champions League
Football
Aaron Ramsey

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