Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
Despite earning the team’s second red card in as many Champions League games, Arsenal survived and advanced to the tournament’s group stage.
Summer signing Alexis Sanchez’s goal in first half stoppage time was enough to earn Arsenal a 1-0 victory over Turkish side Besiktas, despite a second-half red card for Mathieu Debuchy.
After playing to a scoreless draw in the opening leg, Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead late in the first half on an assist from Jack Wilshere. The Gunners were forced to overcome a fearful second half, with Besiktas forward Demba Ba firing numerous close calls off-target. Debuchy’s second yellow saw the Gunners go down to 10 men, but Arsenal held on just long enough to earn a group stage position for the 17th consecutive season.
Here are some more notes from Wednesday evening:
CENTERBACK MOTI MAKES TWO PENALTY SHOOTOUT SAVES AS LUDOGRETS ADVANCES
There’s a theory that states that no matter how many times you watch sports, every game will provide you with something you’ve never seen before. Wednesday’s action proved no different with the UEFA Champions League clash between Ludogorets and Steaua Bucuresti provided a finish for the ages.
With time dwindling in extra time with the score tied at one, Ludogorets goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off, forcing defender Cosmin Moti to assume the role of goalkeeper due to the team’s previous use of all three substitutions.
Moti proceeded to take charge in the ensuing penalty shootout, with both his feet and hands. After opening the scoring with Lodogorets’ first attempt, Moti, who previously played for Steaua Bucuresti rivals Dinamo Bucuresti, saved a pair of penalties to send Ludogorets into the tournament’s group stage for the first time with a 6-5 shootout victory.
GIROUD OUT 3-4 MONTHS DUE TO SURGERY
As Arsenal enter the next stage of their Champions League campaign, they will have to do so without striker Olivier Giroud.
Manager Arsene Wenger announced Wednesday that the French forward is set to miss 3-4 months due to surgery on a broken leg.
“Giroud had surgery today from a broken tibia and he will be out for 3-4 months on the competition side,” Wenger said. “That means he will be capable to play again in the Premier League certainly at the end of December because he will be out for two months. By the time he comes back, that goes three to four months.”
Despite Giroud’s injury, Wenger revealed he has no immediate plans to search for a replacement in the transfer market.
“You ask me straight away who we will buy?” Wenger asked. “I give you the answer straight away – at the moment nobody.”
What was your reaction to the Ludogorets victory? How will Arsenal fare in this year’s Champions League? Who will replace Giroud?
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