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Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea: Mislav Orsic powers Croatian champions to shock victory in Champions League opener

Match report as Mislav Orsic beat Wesley Fofana in a foot race before nudging the ball around Kepa to hand Zagreb a 13th-minute advantage; Thomas Tuchel's side were guilty of spurning a host of second-half chances; They have conceded at least once in each of their last six games

Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is dejected after failing to stop a shot by Dinamo's Mislav Orsic
Image: Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is dejected after failing to stop a shot by Dinamo's Mislav Orsic

Disjointed Chelsea suffered a shock defeat to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb on the opening night of their Champions League campaign as Mislav Orsic's first-half strike was enough to earn a 1-0 victory.

Thomas Tuchel's side were caught napping in 13th minute as Orsic ran from his own half, latching onto a ball from strike partner Bruno Petkovic, to outpace £70m signing Wesley Fofana before dinking the ball beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The hosts soaked up untold Chelsea pressure before stealing the lead, but held onto their advantage admirably, staving off a belated onslaught as chances for Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech went begging.

Team news

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his club debut as Chelsea's Champions League Group E campaign got under way against Dinamo Zagreb.

The Gabon striker wore a custom-made face mask to protect a broken jaw suffered in an attack during a recent home invasion.

Kepa Arrizabalaga started in goal with Edouard Mendy battling for form, while captain Cesar Azpilicueta formed part of a back three.

Mason Mount dropped into a deeper midfield role alongside Mateo Kovacic.

Chelsea went closest via new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on his Blues debut, who had the ball in the back of the net shortly after the interval only for the effort to be chalked off.

Ben Chilwell had edged marginally offside from Mateo Kovacic's diagonal pass, leaving his low ball across for Aubameyang's tap-in to count for nothing.

Chelsea's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, center, is challenged by Dinamo's goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Josip Sutalo
Image: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) is challenged by Dinamo's goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Josip Sutalo

A late flurry, where Reece James crashed an effort against the upright, equally did nothing to affect the scoreline, leaving listless Chelsea to slump to their third defeat in their last five games - it also marks the first time they have lost three consecutive away ties under Tuchel.

Player ratings

Dinamo Zagreb: Livakovic (8), Ristovski (8), Josip Sutalo (7), Peric (7), Moharrami (7), Misic (7), Ljubicic (8), Ivanusec (8), Ademi (7), Orsic (9), Petkovic (9).

Subs: Lauritsen (n/a), Spikic (n/a), Baturina (n/a), Drmic (n/a).

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (7), Azpilicueta (5), Fofana (5), Koulibaly (6), James (7), Mount (7), Kovacic (6), Chilwell (7), Havertz (6), Aubameyang (5), Sterling (5).

Subs: Ziyech (5), Jorginho (5), Broja (6), Cucurella (n/a), Pulisic (n/a).

Man of the match: Mislav Orsic

How Chelsea suffered at hands of Zagreb

Croatia forward Orsic's early breakaway goal "surprisingly" proved enough for Dinamo to topple a languishing Chelsea side, who looked a far cry from the team who hoisted the Champions League trophy aloft only two short seasons ago.

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New striker Aubameyang was tentative on his Blues bow - sporting a face mask to protect his broken jaw - while support cast Raheem Sterling and Havertz were similarly lacklustre.

The new Stamford Bridge hierarchy may well have splashed a Premier League-record £273m in the summer transfer window, but this fragmented team remains somewhat of an experiment.

Tuchel, booked for remonstrating on the sidelines, attempted to switch formations multiple times in the second period in order to divert the course of the game, but appeared to be out of sync with his players.

Following Aubameyang's disallowed equaliser, it was actually Stefan Ristovski who went closest to doubling Zagreb's lead with a thumping shot that required intervention from Kepa, tipping onto the crossbar.

Dinamo's Mislav Orsic, left, scores his side's first goal vs Chelsea
Image: Dinamo's Mislav Orsic, left, scores his side's first goal vs Chelsea

Armando Broja, Aubameyang's 59th-minute replacement, showed glimpses of promise but lacked sharpness when James' endeavour down the right fashioned a wicked cross that almost implored a connection, which never arrived.

Chelsea have conceded at least once in each of their last six games across all competitions, their joint-longest run without a clean sheet since Tuchel took charge in January 2021.

Tuchel: I didn't see it coming; we lacked hunger and desire

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he is angry at himself for a 'huge underperformance' during the 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and suggests his side are currently lacking hunger and determination.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said:

"I'm angry on myself. I'm angry on our performance. It's not aggressive enough on the ball, it's not enough individually or enough as a team.

"Not a lot [of players are playing at the top of their game]. It's obvious that we're underperforming. It's a lack of determination. A lack of hunger and intensity. You cannot expect to win games. We are clearly nowhere near where we want to be.

"I just know that I need time to digest it and find solutions. It's a story of the last games - we start okay. But then we lack precision. We lack the smell of blood.

Off-kilter Chelsea

Chelsea have lost three consecutive away games for the first time under Thomas Tuchel, having last done so in December 2020 under Frank Lampard.

"It's clearly my job to analyse it. Clearly we need to be much better. We are not happy with our results. We are not happy with our performances. I'm a bit surprised by this performance today.

"I didn't see it coming. Obviously I was in the wrong movie. I thought that the last game helped us, we showed a reaction against West Ham. Had good training sessions. I thought the team were prepared.

"I didn't see it coming that's why I know I'm angry on myself. There is no day off in the next days, don't worry. There cannot be a day off at the moment."

Chelsea's remaining Champions League fixtures

September 14: Red Bull Salzburg (H) - kick-off 8pm

October 5: AC Milan (H) - kick-off 8pm

October 11: AC Milan (A) - kick-off 8pm

October 25: Red Bull Salzburg (A) - kick-off 5.45pm

November 2: Dinamo Zagreb (H) - kick-off 8pm

What's next?

Chelsea are back in Premier League action next as they face west London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday in a 12.30pm kick-off.

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