Evening Ticker: Arsenal advance; Ludogorets win shootout with defender in goal; and more



Photo by ISIPhotos.com


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:


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.


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?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Tony in Quakeland

    My reactions to the Arsenal win are:

    – whew!
    – Schanez was awesome and is going to be even more awesome, and
    – this means I still get to make fun of Man U fans


    • Paul

      My reaction as an Arsenal fan is oh no. They were lucky to escape with a win. The need (1) a proper center which Sanchez is not and (2) a holding midfielder. They should have gotten Mandzukic or Cavani. He’s been obsessed with Benzema, but that is not going to happen.


    • slowleftarm

      My reaction as a fan of neither Arsenal or Man U is that you don’t get to make fun of Man U until you win something and no the FA Cup doesn’t count.


  • Ivan

    For those who were lucky to experience Ludogorec v. Steaua, what a game!

    A stunning volley in the 90 minute to send the game into overtime, and then a Romanian, former Dinamo Bucarest player, saving 2 penalties and scoring 1 to send the Bulgarians to the Champions League for the first time in their history. Games like this remind us of how beautiful the beautiful game really is!!!

    A couple of words on Ludogorec: the team is sponsored by one of the wealthiest Bulgarians, it is an experiment of sorts; the team is located in Razgrad, a small town near the border with Turkey, a town with little football tradition and populated predominantly by Bulgaria’s Muslim minority.

    Since the stadium in their home town doesn’t pass UEFA muster, the team will play its home games in Sofia’s Vasil Levski stadium.

    Due to the lack of footballing traditions in Ludogorec (Bulgaria’s Chelsea, if you will), the country’s ,main teams, Levski and CSKA Sofia, are mostly jealous of its success. A good portion of CSKA fans were sitting today with Steaua’s fans and cheering for the visiting side.

    Ludugorec usually starts 5-6 international players, a Spaniard, Abalo, a Brazilian, Marcelino, a Romanian, Moti, a Slovenian, Beziak, Quixada, a Portugese; Misidjan, a Dutch player…the style of play is very continental: great ball control, passing game, ball on the ground, very dangerous on the counter-attack. The team got to the round of 16 in last years’ Europa League edition, losing to Valencia, 0:4 on aggregate.

    I thought that would be interesting bit of info about the absolute debutant in this year’s Champions League group stage.


  • Mike

    Sound more like Bulgarias Hoffenheim (small town and hardly anyone goes to games/toy of a billionaire)…. Appreciate the lesson though.


    • Increase0

      Ya, oddly. I think Hoffenheim gets less and less hate every year. It’s easy to hate Man City who try to buy glory. It’s hard to hate a mid-table team that always puts on a show.


  • hm

    do goals scored in qualifying rounds count at all for each CL or Europa League season?

    how does WENGER do it? each year ARSENAL sneak their way into the CL by winning the play-off match


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