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Champions League: Arsenal held by Besiktas

updated 5:36 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Arsenal and Besiktas will meet in north London next week for the second leg of their Champions League playoff tie.
Arsenal and Besiktas will meet in north London next week for the second leg of their Champions League playoff tie.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Arsenal finishes with 10 men in 0-0 draw at Besiktas
  • Aaron Ramsey sent off and will miss second leg in London
  • Italian club Napoli held 1-1 by Spain's Athletic Bilbao
  • Bayer Leverkusen defeats FC Copenhagen 3-2 in Denmark

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(CNN) -- There's a $33 million prize on offer -- but Arsenal's hopes of securing the cash are on the line.

A goalless draw in Turkey against Besiktas in the first leg of its Champions League playoff means the pressure will be cranked up another level when the two teams face up at Emirates Stadium next Wednesday.

Reduced to 10-men following the sending off of Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal will hope it can successfully see off a plucky Besiktas side and secure a 17th successive season in the group stage of Europe's top club competition.

Arsenal had won all 12 of its previous playoff matches in the competition but Wenger remains confident his side will progress and secure a healthy financial reward.

"It was a difficult game played at a frenetic pace throughout," Wenger told ITV.

"We could have won it but they had chances as well. In the end we didn't lose and hopefully we will make it at home.

"Both yellow cards for Aaron Ramsey are unbelievable. When you see the fouls they have made today it's not serious. Just not serious."

Ramsey's sending off, which came late on following a second yellow card, rules the midfielder out of next week's second leg.

And yet Arsenal still could have snatched victory with five minutes remaining when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's effort hit the post.

Aiming for a place in the group stage following last year's last-16 exit, Arsenal made a slow start and could have fallen behind inside the first minute.

Demba Ba, the former Newcastle and Chelsea forward, struck an effort straight from the kickoff which smashed against the crossbar.

Ba then went close again, forcing Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into a sharp save with an ambitious volley.

Arsenal, which left it late to win its opening Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace on Saturday, appeared to struggle with the poor quality of the playing surface.

Both Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud wasted decent openings, while Ba fired just wide after running in behind the Arsenal defense.

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The second half, while just as frenetic, failed to provide a goal with neither side able to convert their chances.

Olcay Sahan wasted Besiktas' best opportunity, curling his effort wide of the far post after he had worked his way into the Arsenal penalty area.

With the game becoming ever more fractious, Ramsey was shown his second yellow card to leave Arsenal a man down for the remaining 10 minutes of the contest.

But it was the visitors who came closest to snatching a dramatic victory when Chamberlain weaved his way past a couple of challenges before lashing his effort against the post.

Elsewhere, Napoli came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.

Iker Muniain gave the visiting side a first-half lead before Gonzaolo Higuain leveled for the home side.

In Denmark, FC Copenhagen was beaten 3-2 by Bayer Leverkusen despite having taken the lead on two separate occasions.

In the night's other games, Salzburg defeated Malmo 2-1 and Steaua saw off Ludogorets 1-0.

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