Arsenal vs Besiktas live report: Alexis Sanchez comes on up with crucial strike on stroke of half-time

Half-time: Arsenal 1 Besiktas 0

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The Independent Football

Arsenal's £35m man Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for the Gunners on the break of half-time to put his side ahead in their Champions League second-leg qualifier against Besiktas, latching on to Mesut Ozil's pass, via Jack Wilshere, to fire past Tolga Zengin.

Arsenal impressed in short bursts during the first 45 minutes but ultimately failed to dominate at the Emirates.

Jack Wishere had the first chance to put the home side ahead in the ninth minute, running into the area after Alexis Sanchez had been brought down. His sliced effort could not find the target.

Santi Cazorla then should have scored a minute later, goalkeeper Tolga Zengin's tame clearance falling into the path of the Spaniard 25 yards out, the goal was at his mercy but the winger could only loft his shot wide of the post.

Mesut Ozil again floated in and out of the game, with the midfielder, who was playing wide on the left, unable to find the desired pass.

A brilliant, late sliding tackle in the area from Mathieu Debuchy on Mustafa Pektemek saved Arsenal's blushes. The French right-back, who had earlier been booked for hitting Olcay Sahan with his shoulder when charging for the ball, made the crucial block 10 minutes from the break.

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Jack Wilshere reacts after missing a good chance in Arsenal's match with Besiktas

Sanchez led Arsenal’s attack in the absence of the French striker Olivier Giroud, who faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken foot in the Gunners’ 2-2 draw at Everton on Saturday.

The Gunners were already without key midfielders Mikel Arteta (ankle) plus Aaron Ramsey (suspension), meaning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came into the starting XI after missing out in the first leg last week.

Arsene Wenger’s preferred centre-back pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny had started for the first time this season because of Mertesacker’s extended break following Germany’s World Cup triumph in Brazil.

The first leg between the teams had ended goalless in Turkey, Ba impressed for the home side in that tie, nearly scoring from kick-off with an audacious half-way line effort that had goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny scrambling to make the save.

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