Aug 19, 2014 at 7.45pm UK at ​Inonu Stadium
Besiktas
0-0
Arsenal

Ramon (53'), Ozyakup (77')
FT

Ramsey (54'), Flamini (55'), Monreal (66')
Ramsey (80')

Live Commentary: Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal - as it happened

Besiktas's Ismail Koybasi fights for the ball with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere during their UEFA Champions League play-off first leg football match at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, on August 19, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the Champions League qualifier between Besiktas and Arsenal.

Arsenal have been held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier with Besiktas.

In an open first half, Demba Ba very nearly gave the Turkish side the lead straight from kickoff after striking the ball from the halfway line, but Arsenal survived until the break.

Besiktas had the better of the play during the second period, but it was Arsenal, who had Aaron Ramsey sent off for two yellow cards, that came closest to a goal when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot was tipped onto the post.

Read below to see how the action unfolded in Istanbul.


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6.46pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Champions League qualifier between Besiktas and Arsenal.

6.49pmIt's almost become an annual occurrence to see Arsenal compete in a Champions League qualifier at this time of year, hasn't it? Okay, it may not happen every single year, but more often than not, we see the Gunners trying to qualify for the main stages of the Champions League, and to be fair to them, they always pull it off. Will that trend continue? We will go some way to finding out later on this evening.

6.53pmTo an extent, it's a case of lightning striking twice for Arsenal. This time last year, they were paired with another Turkish side, Fenerbahce, and many believed that they would need to perform to the highest level to dispatch them over two legs. However, it proved to be a walk in the park for Arsene Wenger's men who, after winning 3-0 in Turkey, returned to the Emirates Stadium to complete the job with a 2-0 success. I'm sure that all Gunners supporters are hoping for a similar outcome tonight.

6.57pmSome of you may not be aware - I wasn't until earlier today - that tonight's match isn't taking place at Besiktas' Vodafone Arena. That's currently being redeveloped so the game will be played at Ataturk Olympic Stadium, which famously hosted Liverpool's Champions League triumph over AC Milan in 2005.

7.00pmImpressive it may be, but let's hope that we have a full house in 45 minutes time.



7.02pmYou might be wondering why I have been rambling on, but for whatever reason, the team news has taken longer than usual to arrive. Fear not though, my rambling can temporarily come to an end - the Arsenal lineup is in from Istanbul.

7.04pmARSENAL XI: Szczesny, Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey; Sanchez, Wilshere, Cazorla; Giroud

7.05pmARSENAL SUBSTITUTES: Martinez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bellerin, Miquel, Campbell, Flamini, Rosicky

7.08pmWith Kieran Gibbs sidelined with a hamstring injury and Yaya Sanogo having remained in England due to a minor problem, Arsenal's starting lineup is as you would expect. The same can be said for the bench too, with Mathieu Flamini returned after missing his side's win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.

7.11pmThere had been suggestions that Per Mertesacker could be rushed back after starting pre-season a few weeks later than his teammates but Arsene Wenger has opted to leave the defender, along with Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, out of the squad until the weekend. After witnessing their international teammate Andre Schurrle play 75 minutes for Chelsea last night, it makes you wonder why the German trio aren't ready for inclusion.

7.13pmBESIKTAS XI: Zengin; Koybasi, Franco, Gulum, Motta, Ozyakup, Uysal, Kavlak, Sahan, Pektemek, Ba

7.14pmBESIKTAS SUBSTITUTES: Gonen, Kurtulus, Sivok, Frei, Tosun, Boral, Tore

7.18pmWhat's that? You spot a familiar name? That's right. Former West Ham United, Newcastle United and Chelsea striker Demba Ba leads the line for Besiktas this evening after his summer switch from Stamford Bridge. The Senegalese forward has scored twice in five appearances against Arsenal so he will be one to keep an eye on throughout the 90 minutes.

7.21pmThere are four more matches taking place in the Champions League this evening, but the one that sticks out is the encounter between Napoli and Athletic Bilbao. It's expected that Besiktas will push the Gunners all the way tonight, but it could have been a whole lot worse for Arsene Wenger's men!

7.26pmWe are only a couple of games into the season, but so far, it's hard not to be impressed by Arsenal. Sure, they struggled past Crystal Palace at the weekend, but after blitzing Manchester City the week before, they added a second string to their bow by digging in to start their Premier League campaign with three points. You'd think that it is going to take a similar kind of performance this evening but with the strike-force that they now possess, you'd have to fancy Arsenal to net a couple of away goals.

7.30pmOne man who could find an away goal is new signing Alexis Sanchez. He is considered one of the signings of the summer and his strike-rate at Barcelona was impressive for a player in his position. However, he will be striving to improve his record in the Champions League, with the Chilean having only netted three times in 24 European appearances at Camp Nou.

7.34pmOne player I haven't yet alluded to is defender Calum Chambers. When he signed for the Gunners in a £16m deal, he wasn't expected to get an immediate opportunity in the first team but due to the lack of fitness of Per Mertesacker, he has been given the chance to excel alongside Laurent Koscielny. Tonight will be a step up for the 19-year-old, though, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the occasion.

7.39pmPREDICTION! After not playing at the weekend, Besiktas will be fresher than their opponents and could make a rapid start, but as the game develops, you'd expect Arsenal to come into it and grind out a positive result. 2-1 to the Gunners.

7.44pmThe two teams make their way out onto the pitch, and it's fair to say that they have been met by a hostile atmosphere. 500 hardy souls have made their way from England, but they are being out-sung by a huge number of Besiktas fans. Kickoff is coming right up.

1 minBesiktas get us underway in Istanbul.

1 minWOODWORK! What an extraordinary start! After the ball is rolled in front of him, Demba Ba attempts to lob Wojciech Szczesny straight from the kickoff and the Arsenal stopper is forced to scramble back to tip the ball onto the crossbar. It's an astonishing effort and it very nearly earned Besiktas a six-second lead.

5 minBesiktas have dominated the opening few minutes, but Arsenal are beginning to get on the ball a bit more now. Not for long though, and the Turkish side are unlucky not to create a chance inside the penalty area.

8 minArsenal are barely getting any time to settle on the ball in the middle third of the pitch and it's resulting in them failing to get the ball forward to the likes of Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez.

9 minSHOT! Demba Ba is brimming with confidence and that isn't good news for Arsenal. A wonderfully-flighted pass finds the former Chelsea man in the middle but his first-time volley from 12 yards is superbly kept out by Wojciech Szczesny.

10 minCHANCE! Arsenal break straight up the other end through Alexis Sanchez, but after the winger had found Olivier Giroud, the Frenchman couldn't get his shot away.

13 minCHANCE! Arsenal have joy down the right-hand side for the second time in the space of a few minutes but after Santi Cazorla had done well to work some room for himself in the penalty area, he could only drag a 12-yard effort wide of the far post. It's been an electric start in Istanbul.

17 minIt's been somewhat surprising that this has been such an open game. If anything, you'd expect both teams to be cautious but it's been the complete opposite. I can't see this one ending goalless...

21 minArsenal break in numbers through Olivier Giroud but the striker keeps his head down and misses out on the chance to play in a teammate on either flank. The move ends with Arsenal winning a corner, but they fail to make the most of it.

25 minEvery time Arsenal regain possession, they are being greeted by a chorus of boos from the home supporters who are intent on ensuring that the English side don't settle on the ball. Most of Arsenal's good work has come on the break, but they aren't going to need a period in the game where they can hold onto possession for longer than they have been doing so far.

29 minBesiktas work the ball well on the right-hand side before a cross is scuffed into the penalty area. Calum Chambers does well to allow the ball to reach Wojciech Szczesny but he is perhaps a tad fortunate to avoid conceding a spot kick. It would have been harsh, though.

30 minIt has to be said - Demba Ba has been superb. The ball is fired into the striker, who expertly helps the ball to his teammate before Veli Kavlak drills a 25-yard strike straight at Wojciech Szczesny. Very slick play from the hosts, who are continuing to cause Arsenal several problems at the back.

34 minMore pressure from the hosts, and Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy had to react sharply to prevent separate attacks building momentum. We are still 10 minutes away from the break, but Arsenal could probably do with half time.

39 minSHOT! Arsenal come forward through Jack Wilshere, who is soon looking around for support. That fails to come, though, and the midfielder is forced to attempt a curling effort from 20 yards, but it's easily kept out by Tolga Zengin.

43 minCHANCE! We are just two minutes before half time, and Demba Ba has wasted a glorious chance to give his side the lead. After Calum Chambers had missed the ball, the striker cut inside onto his right foot before drilling the ball inches wide of the near post from 12 yards when all that he had to do was hit the target.

45 minHALF TIME: Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal

8.34pmDespite a couple of minor stoppages, the referee chooses not to add any time on at the end of the half, and we will go into the break on level terms. Besiktas have had the better of the half, but Arsenal always look a threat on the counter-attack. This one is finely poised after the first 45 minutes.

8.39pmThe half-time stats suggest that Besiktas have only had 52% of possession but it appeared as though they had a much greater share than that. The hosts lead the shot count six to five but Arsenal are created several more corners than their opponents.

8.44pmIt's probably a bit early for alterations but the introduction of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must be at the forefront of Arsene Wenger's mind. The Gunners have had some joy thanks to the injection of pace from Alexis Sanchez and they could reap the rewards down the left during the latter stages of this match should the England international become involved in the final 20 minutes.

46 minWe are back underway in Istanbul.

46 minCHANCE! Oliver Giroud does well to dispossess a Besiktas defender and lay the ball off to Aaron Ramsey, but rather than get a shot in from 18 yards, the Welshman tries to take on his man and the chance disappears. Poor decision-making from the midfielder.

47 minCHANCE! Like at the end of the first half, Besiktas waste a clear opening to edge in front in Istanbul. After being released down the left, Olcay Sahan cut inside before curling the balls inches wide of the far post. In truth, he should be finding the bottom corner from that range. He was no more than 12 yards out.

50 minSUBSTITUTION! Arsenal have been forced into a change. Mikel Arteta has picked up a knock after contesting a challenge in the middle of the park and he has been replaced by Mathieu Flamini.

53 minBOOKING! Besiktas left-back Ramon Motta is the first man to go into the referee's notebook after blocking Alexis Sanchez's attempted burst down the right flank.

54 minBOOKING! A minute later, Aaron Ramsey is also handed a yellow card after a foul on the halfway line.

55 minBOOKING! Wow, they are quickly being totted up now. Mathieu Flamini has been cautioned for a needless late challenge on the edge of the Besiktas penalty area.

60 minArsenal are going through a spell where they can't keep hold of the ball, and when they do lose it, Besiktas are soon pressing them back onto the edge of their own penalty area. It's potentially a recipe for disaster and Arsene Wenger could do with tinkering with his team.

62 minOlivier Giroud is penalised for an unfair challenge on a Besiktas defender when trying to latch onto a high ball, and Arsene Wenger isn't happy. I'd say that is more out of frustration than anything because his team are very much second best.

66 minBOOKING! Nacho Monreal is adjudged to have gone in late around 40 yards from goal, and he is the next Arsenal player to enter the referee's notebook.

68 minThe ball is played through to the advancing Mathieu Debuchy, who reaches the byline before firing the ball back across goal. He manages to find Oliver Giroud, but the striker can't make a clean contract and his shot goes well wide of the post.

73 minDespite that opening, it's still very stop-start from Arsenal. Fenerbahce are continuing to break forward in numbers when they have the ball. However, here comes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who, surprisingly, is replacing Alexis Sanchez.

74 minSUBSTITUTION! Besiktas are also making a change, with Gokhan Tore, who spent time at Chelsea during his youth, taking the place of Olcay Sahan.

77 minWe have less than 15 minutes to go in Istanbul. The chances have dried up for both sides, but there is still plenty of time for that to change. Besiktas still look the more likely to break the deadlock.

79 minNow then, Arsenal win a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area after Nacho Monreal had his left leg swept from underneath him. Santi Cazorla looks like he will take it.

79 minIt's a low effort that seemed to be scuffed, but the ball found its way on target, with Tolga Zengin managing to grab hold of the ball at the second opportunity.

80 minRED CARD! Arsenal have been reduced to 10 men! It's Aaron Ramsey who has been forced to walk after tugging back his marker after losing the ball in midfield. This is a big 10 minutes for the Gunners.

83 minA sweeping ball out to the right from Jack Wilshere is headed out for a corner. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's delivery is a good one but Besiktas do terrifically to head clear.

87 minJack Wilshere has started to take this game by the scruff of the neck and the midfielder's run into the corner brings another set piece for his side. It's another good cross but Calum Chambers can't get enough on the ball to direct it goalwards.

89 minWOODWORK! Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hits the post! So unlucky. The winger accelerated inside, forcing Besiktas onto the back foot before firing a left-foot strike from 12 yards that Tolga Zengin tipped onto the inside of the post, with the ball rebounding fortuitously for the defender.

90 minSUBSTITUTION! Tomas Rosicky is on in place of Santi Cazorla. There will be four minutes of added-on time.

90+2 minArsenal are having to defend for their lives here. A number of blocks are required to stop the ball reaching Wojciech Szczesny before the referee temporarily halts play after Mathieu Flamini takes a blow in the area that you wouldn't wish a shot to be aimed.

90+4 minBesiktas coach Slaven Bilic has been in the referee's ear all match, and the official has had enough. The Croatian has been sent to the stands.

90+5 minFULL TIME: Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal

9.40pmThe full-time whistle goes in Istanbul and Arsenal have held on to earn a 0-0 draw against Besiktas. The Gunners would have been keen to net an away goal, but after having to hang on at times throughout the 90 minutes, they can't be too displeased with having to return to the Emirates Stadium next week on level terms.

9.41pmAs I just mentioned, the second leg will take place next week, with Sports Mole having full coverage of the match on Wednesday evening.

9.42pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye for now.

Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates his goal with team mate Mikel Arteta during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on August 16, 2014
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