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Football: Arsenal's Europe hopes survive in Istanbul cauldron

Published on Aug 20, 2014 6:23 AM
Besiktas' Mustafa Pektemek (centre) vies with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (left) and Mikel Arteta (right) during the UEFA Champions League play-off football match Besiktas vs Arsenal at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Aug 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Arsenal on Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014, survived the test of a raucous Istanbul crowd and a hugely-energised Besiktas side to leave Turkey with a goalless draw and their hopes intact of advancing to the Champions League group stage.

In the first leg of the Champions League play-off, Arsenal failed to score the all-important away goal but will be relieved to have escaped from Istanbul with a 0-0 scoreline and still every hope they will qualify in the home leg.

However, the only sour note was they ended the match with 10 men as key Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey was sent off 10 minutes from time.

The prospect of entry into the lucrative group stages of the Champions League dynamised Besiktas, who finished third in the Turkish league last season under Croatian manager Slaven Bilic.

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