Black Eagles planning an upset to Gunners
Beşiktaş midfielder Veli Kavlak (C) challenges for the ball against Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey during the two teams’ first meeting at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium. AA PhotoBeşiktaş is planning to complete a memorable upset against Arsenal in the Champions League playoff second leg tonight. The Turkish team was unlucky not to grab a win in the first leg in Istanbul, but the Black Eagles still believe that the tie is not over yet and they have a chance to advance to the top-level European club competition.
“Our opponents are one of the most important clubs of the Premier League, which is one of the greatest leagues in the world,” Beşiktaş chairman Fikret Orman said. “They have very important players and a big budget but football is played on the pitch. “We need luck on our side,” Orman added.
Luck was hardly on Beşiktaş’s side, with Demba Ba’s long range shot from the kick-off hitting the bar only on the opening seconds of the game last week. Ba, a former Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham player, came close to scoring many times in the game, but failed to break the deadlock.
The north London club boasts a proud record of having never lost a Champions League qualifying tie and although last week’s draw was the first time in 13 matches it has failed to win a play-off encounter, the goal is quite simple for manager Arsene Wenger.
“We know the second leg will be tight again, but we are at home, so the task is clear for us - we want to win,” said the Arsenal boss, who led the club to the 2006 Champions League final.
Arsenal will be without midfielder Aaron Ramsey, and forward Olivier Giroud. Both players have salvaged points for Arsenal in Premier League games against Crystal Palace and Everton. Ramsey, who led Arsenal to a 2-1 win over Palace, was sent off in the first leg, while Giroud, who capped a 2-2 draw against Everton, is injured.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere believes that Arsenal’s comeback puts the Gunners in a perfect frame of mind to wrap up the tie.
“This is a fantastic point and now we have a big game on Wednesday and this will give us great confidence going into that,” the midfielder told Arsenal.com. “We never give up and at this level that is massive. We have always shown over the years that Arsenal are going to battle like mad right until the end.”
Beşiktaş hopes to return to the Champions League after five years of absence. Tonight’s game starts at 9:30 p.m. and will be shown live on Smart Spor on D-Smart.