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Arsenal beats Besiktas 1-0, reaches Champions group stage for 17th straight season

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LONDON — Alexis Sanchez scored his first Arsenal goal, and the Gunners beat Besiktas 1-0 Wednesday night to reach the Champions League group stage for the 17th consecutive season.

The Chilean forward, acquired last month from Barcelona for 35 million pounds (then $60 million), scored in first-half injury time to put Arsenal ahead following a 0-0 first leg last week in the home-and-home, total-goals series.

PHOTO: Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, second right, scores a goal during a second leg Champions League qualifying soccer match between Arsenal and Besiktas at Emirates Stadium in London Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, second right, scores a goal during a second leg Champions League qualifying soccer match between Arsenal and Besiktas at Emirates Stadium in London Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Arsenal finished a man short after defender Mathieu Debuchy was ejected in the 75th minute for his second yellow card, given for a foul om Mustafa Pektemek.

The Gunners have been in the group stage every season since 1998-99, and Athletic Bilbao is back for the first time since then after beating Napoli 3-1 to advance on 4-2 aggregate.

Malmo will be Sweden's first group stage representative in 14 years after beating Salzburg 3-0 to advance 4-2. Bayer Leverkusen routed Copenhagen 4-0 for a 7-2 win.

The draw is Thursday.

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