Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea: Mislav Orsic strikes as Thomas Tuchel’s side fall to tame Champions League defeat

·2-min read
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Mislav Orsic enjoyed more success against English opposition as Dinamo Zagreb stunned Chelsea to win 1-0 on the opening night of the Champions League group stage.

A first-half strike on the break from Orsic, who netted a Europa League hat-trick against Tottenham 18 months ago, was enough for the Croatian champions, as Chelsea suffered a third defeat of the season after just seven matches.

Once again there were vulnerabilities at the back, with goals also a problem despite a record-breaking transfer window.

Thomas Tuchel handed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a Chelsea debut, with fellow new signing Denis Zakaria on the bench and Mateo Kovacic starting against his former club.

It was a quick start from the visitors, getting in behind the Dinamo defence on a couple of times, though Aubameyang was strangely reluctant to shoot when in good positions inside the box.

For all of Chelsea’s possession, Dinamo took the lead with pretty much their first voyage beyond the halfway line. Bruno Petkovic flicked a long ball on and Orsic found himself in a straight foot race with Wesley Fofana. He proved far too quick for the centre-back and then produced a sublime flicked finish, the ball trickling into the far corner.

Chelsea had absolutely no response to the goal, any promising signs quickly disappearing. Dinamo ran them ragged on the counter, looking a threat on every occasion they broke forward while the visitors looked increasingly blunt in forward areas.

Tuchel’s side improved somewhat after the break and had the ball in the back of the net through Aubameyang shortly after the restart, but the offside flag was swiftly raised to cut short any celebrations.

Dinamo were inches away from doubling their lead in stunning fashion, as Stefan Ristovski let fly from 30 yards and watched Kepa Arrizabalaga produce a superb save to tip the ball onto the woodwork.

Five substitutions were made by Chelsea, Tuchel trying everything he could to get his side back into it, but a couple of dangerous crosses flashed across the face of goal was largely the extent of the threat to Dinamo’s defence.

Kai Havertz powered a header at goal, but Robert Ljubicic did incredibly well to get back and deflect the ball over the bar.

A low strike from Reece James cannoned back off the post before Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech were denied in quick successsion. The defending became increasingly last-ditch, but Dinamo held on through eight minutes of added-time to seal a historic win to start their group-stage campaign, leaving Chelsea immediately on the back foot.