Beşiktaş JK 0-0 Arsenal FC
Though Demba Ba hit the crossbar from the kick-off and Aaron Ramsey was sent off, Arsenal remain on track for a 17th straight group stage.
Article top media content
Beşiktaş JK and Arsenal FC drew 0-0 in the opening instalment of their UEFA Champions League play-off tie in Istanbul.
• Ba hits crossbar straight from kick-off for Beşiktaş
• Arsenal aiming for 17th straight group stage
• Gunners beat Fenerbahçe at same stage last term
• Ramsey sent off with ten minutes remaining
• Oxlade-Chamberlain hits post in 89th minute
Demba Ba so nearly gave Beşiktaş the most remarkable of starts, chancing his arm straight from kick-off and forcing Wojciech Szczęsny to turn onto the crossbar inside four seconds. The Gunners keeper was in more routine action after nine minutes, parrying a left-footed volley from Ba, who, on his first start for the Istanbul club, had struck a hat-trick against Feyenoord in the third qualifying round.
Summer acquisition Alexis Sánchez then came to the fore, using his pace to threaten on the counterattack and teeing up Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla but neither was able to test Tolga Zengin. Ba finished the opening period as he had started it, but this time shot just wide with only Szczęsny to beat having intercepted Calum Chambers' pass before skipping past Laurent Koscielny.
Arsenal's French international centre-back was again turned inside out soon after the break, Olcay Şahan on this occasion the man to create space only to miss the target. Though Cazorla tested Zengin with a low free-kick in the closing quarter, Arsenal were soon on the back foot when Aaron Ramsey was shown a second yellow card.
However, Arsène Wenger's team so nearly took a potentially decisive advantage against the odds in the closing stages, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain curling a shot against the woodwork via Zengin's fingertips. The return leg is in north London next Wednesday.