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Arsenal squeezes past Besiktas to qualify for Champions League group stage

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, left, celebrates with team mate Jack Wilshere after scoring a goal against Besiktas during their Champions League playoff soccer match at the Emirates stadium in London August 27, 2014.


Alexis Sanchez scored his first Arsenal goal as the Premier League club held on with 10 men to squeeze past Besiktas 1-0 and qualify for the Champions League group stage for the 17th consecutive season.

The Chile striker, who joined from Barcelona in July for 35 million pounds (then $60 million), netted on the stroke of halftime in the playoff after a scoreless away leg.

Arsenal has 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 go through 4-2 on aggregate.

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Malmo will be Sweden's first group stage representative in 14 years after beating Salzburg 3-0 to advance 4-2 on aggregate.

Bayer Leverkusen routed FC Copenhagen 4-0 after winning 3-2 away.

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