Alexis Sanchez scores to seal Champions League qualification for Arsenal

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Alexis Sanchez scored his first Arsenal goal since his high profile £35 million move from Barcelona to seal a safe passage for the Gunners into Thursday's Champions League draw.

The Chilean struck in front of his home fans in the second leg against Besiktas but the Gunners experienced a few nervy moments before ensuring qualification.

Debuchy red

Besiktas were also turned down flat for two penalty appeals and the Gunners lost Mathieu Debuchy, with the Frenchman sent off 14 minutes before the end of the match.

The game was far from a home walkover and with Aaron Ramsey suspended, Jack Wilshere was handed the controlling reins in central midfield. Wilshere was lucky not to be punished for a careless first-half tackle on Ramon Motta. Olivier Giroud did not feature after sustaining a foot injury during Saturday's draw with Everton.

A tense finish saw Besiktas test the defensive mettle of Arsene Wenger's side in pursuit of an all-important away goal.

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Wenger praises Besiktas

Speaking to the official club website after the game, Arsene Wenger said: “You must give credit to Besiktas when you look at their results in pre-season.”

“You understand why they beat all the teams they met until now because they are a close unit, well organised, physically very strong and technically very good.”

“We kept (Demba) Ba quiet tonight - he had one chance on the header that was close to the end - that would have killed us but apart from that I thought we kept him quiet tonight.”

With his side set to play in the Champions League for the 17th season in succession, Wenger must now decide whether he needs to enter into the transfer market again before Monday's deadline in search of a replacement for Giroud.

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Alexis Sanchez
UEFA Champions League

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