Ramsey’s majestic display steers Arsenal to resounding Champions League win in Istanbul
- Credit: AP
Champions League qualifier 1st leg: Fenerbahce 0 Arsenal 3
Aaron Ramsey scored one goal and set up another as Arsenal took a significant step towards the Champions League group stages with victory in Istanbul.
The Welsh midfielder – who had netted his first Gunners goal in the same stadium five years earlier – capped a commanding performance by putting his side 2-0 up in their play-off round first leg tie.
Full-back Kieran Gibbs opened the scoring with his maiden Champions League goal, with Ramsey hitting the second and Olivier Giroud making it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Theo Walcott was brought down.
Arsenal’s approach play threatened to overwhelm the Turkish side, with Ramsey, Walcott and Tomas Rosicky all looking lively, but they were unable to put the home defence under sustained pressure in the first half.
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The few opportunities they created fell to Giroud, whose glancing header drifted just wide of the far post from Rosicky’s cross, while Ramsey also dragged a first-time effort wide after a slip by Bruno Alves.
Just before half-time, Giroud ran onto Jack Wilshere’s through ball and blazed over but, by contrast, Fenerbahce failed to even register a single attempt at goal during the first half.
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The Gunners looked untroubled, even after an enforced change when Laurent Koscielny went off with a cut that required stitches, following Pierre Webo’s high challenge.
Former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt was first to threaten soon after the restart, with a swerving effort that dipped over – but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 51 minutes.
Ramsey’s timing was perfect as he delivered a pass around the back to Walcott, who squared the ball for the onrushing Gibbs to tuck into the unguarded net.
Wilshere almost extended Arsenal’s lead with a shot that was beaten away by Volkan Demirel – but the Turkish goalkeeper could only fumble the ball over the line when Ramsey advanced to strike a low drive just after the hour mark.
Fenerbahce might have pulled a goal back when Moussa Sow got away from Bacary Sagna and fired a dipping shot just over the bar, but the Gunners moved further ahead with 13 minutes remaining.
Walcott’s ball control took him clear of Michal Kadlec, who bundled him over inside the penalty area and Giroud smashed a confident spot-kick past Demirel.
Kadlec almost gave Fenerbahce a glimmer of hope late on, but Wojciech Szczesny denied him and also saved from Emmanuel Emenike to ensure that Arsenal head into the second leg with an imposing advantage.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny (Jenkinson 33), Gibbs; Rosicky, Ramsey; Walcott (Monreal 87), Wilshere, Cazorla; Giroud (Podolski 82).