Arsene Wenger was left frustrated during the first leg of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier with Besiktas, a match which saw Aaron Ramsey sent off and a bottle launched at the manager from the stands.
While the thrown object missed Wenger's head after the 0-0 draw, the incident summed up a night of irritation for the English club. "As I left the pitch a bottle or something was thrown at me. I reported the incident to UEFA," said Wenger, as reported by Dominic Fifield of The Guardian.
The Frenchman was also left scathing by the performance of referee Milorad Mazic, who issued two soft yellow cards to dismiss Aaron Ramsey in the second half and left more serious tackles unpunished.
Mazic was quick to caution the Gunners' key midfielder for fouls in which he pulled back Necip Uysal and Oguzhan Ozyakup, while Demba Ba escaped without punishment after leaving Mikel Arteta in a leg brace, per James Olley of the London Evening Standard:
Wenger was quick to criticise the official during his post-match interview, per Fifield:
Neither the first nor the second yellow card was deserved (for Ramsey).
When you see some of the fouls made tonight and we go home with Ramsey red-carded, it’s a bit unbelievable. The challenge on Arteta was very bad but the referee was on the pitch and didn’t see anything of it. It’s very difficult to understand but, in the second half, the performance of the referee was very bad.
Slaven Bilic, Wenger's opposite number in the Besiktas dugout, also suggested Mazic's performance was below par after being sent to the stands.
"It was a big game for us, right, and I just wasn't happy with some of the decisions," said Bilic, per Fifield. "He just showed me the way (off). After the game I apologised to him and to Mr Wenger. I made a mistake."
Although an entertaining contest during the first 45 minutes, in which both teams created chances to score, the tempo dropped considerably after half-time. Neither side were able to gain momentum in a hostile atmosphere at the Ataturk Stadium, where Arsenal noticeably failed to deploy their usual slick passing game.
Ba remained confident throughout, summed up by his testing shot straight from kick-off in the first half. Olivier Giroud failed to impose himself on the game and couldn't sweep home a chance where he battled for the ball when falling to the ground, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's late burst into the box saw the Englishman strike a post.
Arsenal's inability to grab an away goal leaves them needing a win during the Emirates return leg. Wenger will be confident of his team improving in front of their home fans, but they will have to overcome the Turkish side without the presence of Ramsey.
Besiktas played in the image of their manager during the first leg—they were energetic, tough and disciplined—but will know they only have an outside chance of making the Champions League group stage after failing to establish a lead at home.
Qualification is essential for Arsenal, who are harbouring ambitions of building on last year's FA Cup win. The recent signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez also suggest the club is aiming to lodge a serious challenge for their first ever Champions League win, so a failure to qualify would be disastrous.
Wenger will be confident of shutting Besiktas out in north London, where his team generally dominate. Ramsey's red card and Arteta's injury sum up a disappointing opener, but these mishaps will be forgotten if Arsenal confirm their route into the main competition.
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