Arsenal, Napoli in doubt after tough draws
Arsenal held on with 10 men to draw 0-0 at Besiktas in the Champions League play-off round yesterday, while Bayer Leverkusen are better placed to reach the group stage after winning 3-2 at FC Copenhagen.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was sent off with 10 minutes left in the first leg match in Istanbul after being shown a second yellow card for tugging Oguzhan Ozyakup's shirt.
The London club, which has played in every group stage since the 1998-99 season, still nearly grabbed a late winner when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot was turned onto the post.
The highest-scoring match of the night was in Denmark with Leverkusen holding the away goals advantage going into next Wednesday's home leg. The other matches saw Athletic Bilbao draw 1-1 at Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg beat Malmo 2-1 and Steaua Bucharest edge Ludogorets Razgrad 1-0.
At the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, a familiar face nearly embarrassed Arsenal from the kick-off. Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba lobbed the ball from the halfway line and it was looping into the top corner until goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pushed it onto the crossbar.
With striker Olivier Giroud lacking cutting edge in front of goal and new signing Alexis Sanchez denied by Tolga Zengin's save before half-time, Arsenal rarely looked like repeating its 3-0 victory across Istanbul against Fenerbahce in last year's play-off round.
Besiktas came closest in the second half when Olcay Sahan curled a shot wide after breaking into the box. And, after Ramsey's red card, Besiktas coach Slaven Bilic also saw red in a heated conclusion on the touchline.