Mislav Orsic scored the only goal of the game as Dinamo Zagreb claimed a famous UEFA Champions League win over an underwhelming Chelsea.
The Croatian struck in the first half as the Blues lost a third consecutive away game in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel, who was taking charge for the 100th time for the club.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his Chelsea debut following his transfer from Barcelona with Kepa Arrizabalaga handed a start due to a minor injury suffered by Edouard Mendy.
The visitors dominated the opening exchanges but were caught out on the break as Orsic got in behind the defence to prod a clever finish past Kepa and over the line.
The Croatian champions grew in confidence as the first half progressed and could have doubled their advantage through Arijan Ademi whose ferocious strike from 20 yards was saved by Kepa.
Hakim Ziyech replaced Cesar Azpilicueta for the start of the second half as Chelsea looked to increase the tempo of their play. The Blues found the back of the net after 50 minutes when Aubameyang finished from close range, but the flag was raised for an offside against Ben Chilwell.
Stefan Ristovski came close to doubling Dinamo’s advantage, striking the crossbar with a long-range shot, before Reece James also struck the woodwork for Chelsea in the final minutes of the match.
But an equaliser never came for Chelsea, who have now lost their past three matches away from home for the first time since December 2020 under Frank Lampard.
100 – Tonight was Thomas Tuchel’s 100th match in charge of Chelsea; in his first 50 games they only conceded 24 goals, while in his last 50 they have conceded 53 goals. Breakdown. pic.twitter.com/36VwODedGc
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There was a notable name included in the Chelsea team for this match with Aubameyang handed his first start for his new club following his transfer from Barcelona. The idea was that the Gabon international would give the Blues some much-needed purpose in the final third, but he struggled to make much of an impression.
On a night where Chelsea failed to create much in front of goal, Aubameyang was clearly on a different wavelength to his new teammates. Kai Havertz and Mason Mount both played crosses into the middle for Aubameyang to connect with, but he didn’t read them before being withdrawn before the hour mark.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana were signed at great expense to give Chelsea physical presence at the back, but both defenders struggled to handle the threat posed by Dinamo in attack. In particular, Bruno Petkovic was a handful for the Chelsea centre-back pairing.
“At the moment everything is missing.”
Thomas Tuchel isn’t mincing his words after Chelsea’s opening Champions League defeat… 😤
🎙 @archiert1 | #UCL pic.twitter.com/lCz4AS3wh5
Dinamo enjoyed success feeding Petkovic the ball and asking him to hold it up and bring others into the game. Koulibaly was booked for a tackle on the Croatian frontman and could have been shown a second yellow card as he lost the physical fight.
Chelsea might have claimed 68 per cent of possession in this match, but Dinamo showed greater control in the way they executed their game plan. The final scoreline was proof that possession doesn’t always equate to dominance as the Premier League side failed to create much of note.
Dinamo did an excellent job of staying compact when they were in a low block but had the ability to open up and be more expansive when they had the opportunity to hit out on the counter-attack. They earned the victory and will be a dangerous opponent in the Champions League this season.
DIN – Mislav Orsic – 13th min.
90+8 mins: FULL TIME! Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea. A famous win for the Croatian champions! Orsic’s first half goal is the difference between the two teams at full time and Chelsea can’t have too many complaints – they were extremely poor.
90+7 mins: Can Chelsea create one last opportunity? Dinamo Zagreb are camped deep inside their own half, but they are edging closer and closer to a famous victory in the Champions League!
90+6 mins: BOOKING – Baturina. A yellow card is shown to the Dinamo Zagreb sub for a foul on James. Ziyech strikes the wall with the freekick AGAIN!
90+4 mins: Ziyech lines up the freekick 25 yards out, but it’s straight into the Dinamo Zagreb wall, as is the strike on the rebound. He has been atrocious since coming off the bench for the start of the second half. Has offered Chelsea next to nothing.
90+1 mins: That’s poor from Mount. He had the opportunity to get a ball into the middle or keep the pressure on the Dinamo Zagreb backline with a lateral pass, but he sends his pass straight into the arms of Livakovic.
90 mins: There will be EIGHT minutes of stoppage time played at the end of the match. Where has that come from?
88 mins: Dinamo Zagreb sub – Ademi OFF, Baturina ON
87 mins: Big double save! Another golden opportunity for Chelsea with Ziyech reacting quickest to a Livakovic save, but the Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper was up quickly to make a second stop from the rebound! Livakovic is earning his clean sheet here.
86 mins: Off the post! That’s the closest Chelsea have come to finding the back of the net. It was an opportunistic strike from James inside the box and Livakovic might well haver got a fingertip to it! Dinamo Zagreb survive. That was some shot by James!
84 mins: Time is running out for Chelsea to turn this match around. Tuchel is furious on the touchline and it’s easy to understand why. The Premier League team have played well within themselves. They haven’t created much at all.
82 mins: What a block! For a moment, it looked like Chelsea were certain to score an equaliser with Havertz getting on the end of a Mount cross into the middle, but Ljubicic made a block with his head and the flag was ultimately raised for offside anyway.
81 mins: Tuchel has now been booked by the referee for dissent towards the officials. I don’t think he can blame the officials for how poorly Chelsea have played in this match…
79 mins: Dinamo Zagreb’s approach in this match has been very impressive. They have stayed compact at the back and made it difficult for Chelsea to play through them, but they have also opened up and been very effective on the break when they have had the ball.
77 mins: Dinamo Zagreb sub – Moharrami and Orsic OFF, Lauritsen and Spikic ON
75 mins: Chelsea sub – Sterling OFF, Pulisic ON
74 mins: That so poor from Ziyech who sends a cross behind when he should have at least found the Dinamo Zagreb penalty area. He hasn’t contributed much since coming off the bench for Chelsea at half time.
72 mins: Koulibaly has to be careful! He is on a yellow card and he’s just committed a clumsy foul on Petkovic who has given the Chelsea defenders a problem all evening. Another foul like that could see Koulibaly shown a second yellow card.
70 mins: Chelsea sub – Chilwell OFF, Cucurella ON. This is a like-for-like change for Chelsea who are still pressing for an equaliser.
68 mins: You get the feeling that Chelsea are picking up the tempo again as we enter the final 20 minutes of the match, but it still hasn’t been enough to unsettle the Dinamo Zagreb defence which has remained rock solid.
65 mins: Can Chelsea find something to spark them into life? At the moment, Dinamo Zagreb look very comfortable. They look comfortable when they have the ball and also when they have to sit back and absorb the pressure from the Premier League side.
62 mins: Chelsea have played at a slightly higher tempo in this second half, but they have still struggled to create opportunities to find the back of the net. The defending from Dinamo Zagreb has been impressive!
59 mins: Aubameyang’s Chelsea comes to an end and you would have to say he was slightly underwhelming. He had a goal disallowed, but should have done more to get on the end of a couple of good crosses from Havertz. One wonders how that jaw injury is restricting him.
58 mins: Chelsea subs – Aubameyang and Kovacic OFF, Broja and Jorginho ON
57 mins: BOOKING – Mount. The Chelsea midfielder is flashed the first yellow card of the match.
55 mins: Off the bar! Dinamo Zagreb were so close to scoring a second goal! Ristovski unleashed the strike and it was heading for the top corner of the Chelsea net, but Kepa pushed out a hand to divert it on to the crossbar.
WHAT A STOP BY KEPA TO DENY RISTOVSKI! ⛔ pic.twitter.com/iBpl8YfYS1
50 mins: Chelsea goal disallowed! The away team have the ball in the back of the net, but it’s been chalked off for offside. Kovacic found Chilwell down the left, he knocked it square and Aubameyang finished from close range, but Chilwell was offside!
48 mins: Great play by Havertz! Chelsea have started the second half at a higher tempo and Havertz does brilliantly to beat his man down the right side and whip a dangerous ball into the box. Aubameyang was in there, but he couldn’t get on the end of it!
46 mins: The second half is under way and Tuchel has made a change – Ziyech comes on for Chelsea and he replaces Azpilicueta.
45+1 mins: HALF TIME! Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea – What a first half for Dinamo Zagreb. Chelsea have dominated possession, but they have been slow and they were caught out at the back by Orsic who has put the Croatian team ahead at the break.
45 mins: There will be one minute of stoppage time played at the end of the first half. Chelsea are pressing hard for an equaliser.
43 mins: Chance for Aubameyang! That was more encouraging for Chelsea. They created the space down the left side with Havertz passing to Sterling who clipped a cross to the back post for Aubameyang, but Dinamo Zagreb defend it and the flag is ultimately raised.
41 mins: There has been a shift in the dynamic of the match in the last five minutes or so. Having played much of the first half in a low block, Dinamo Zagreb have realised that they can outplay Chelsea higher up the pitch. They are seeing more of the ball.
38 mins: Nothing is working for Chelsea at the moment. One of the most concerning things about this Chelsea first half performance is that Fofana is coming off second best in the physical battle with Petkovic.
35 mins: The opening goal has knocked Chelsea out of their stride. They are giving away possession cheaply in the middle of the pitch – this time it’s Kovacic who concedes the ball. This is going to plan for Dinamo Zagreb. They’ll fancy scoring a second goal!
33 mins: Tuchel looks very restless on the bench and you can understand why. Chelsea have seen plenty of the ball, but it’s Dinamo Zagreb who look the more dangerous off the two teams.
30 mins: Kepa makes the save! The ball was played to Ademi 20 yards out and he unleashed a ferocious strike with a lot of power! The Chelsea goalkeeper had to get behind that to make the stop!
28 mins: Orsic shoots wide! Dinamo Zagreb have the ball in the Chelsea box through Petkovic, he plays the pass back to Orsic who shifts the ball on to his left foot, but he puts the finish over the target.
25 mins: It’s been a frustrating evening for Chelsea so far. They have dominated possession, but you couldn’t really say that they have created a great deal in the final third. Dinamo Zagreb, however, have taken the one chance they created.
22 mins: A ball is played in behind for Chilwell to get on the end down the left side, but there was too much weight on the pass and Livakovic came off his line to gather with ease. You can see why Chelsea are trying to channel their play down the left, though – there’s space there!
19 mins: A period of sustained pressure from Chelsea as they search for an equaliser. They are certainly getting a lot of players forward – they had no fewer than six players inside the Dinamo Zagreb penalty area for that last attack!
15 mins: Chelsea have had 69% of possession so far in this match, but they were made to pay for being too open at the back for the opening goal. Orsic deserves a lot of credit for taking the opportunity.
13 mins: GOAL! Dinamo Zagreb 1 (13′ Orsic) Chelsea 0 – Wow! Dinamo Zagreb have taken the lead against the run of play! Orsic was released in behind the Chelsea defence, Fofana didn’t have the pace to get back and make the tackle and the youngster prods the finish past Kepa and over the line!
HOW ABOUT THAT! 😱
Mislav Orsic shows tremendous pace and poise to put Dinamo Zagreb in the lead against Chelsea ✨#UCL pic.twitter.com/4uuQW2gF3I
10 mins: Havertz gets across his man to meet a corner kick and flick an effort towards goal, but that was simple enough for Livakovic to catch under very little pressure.
8 mins: Across the face! That was a nice attacking move from Chelsea. Sterling played the ball in behind for Havertz who had the pace advantage on his opponent. The German was aiming for Aubameyang in the middle, but the ball flashes across the six yard box and out the other side.
6 mins: The flag was up! An early opportunity for Chelsea with Aubameyang cutting the ball back for Sterling to have the shot. Livakovic makes the save, but the flag was up for an offside – correct decision.
4 mins: As you would expect, Chelsea are dominating the early stages of this match. The Premier League team are getting lots of players forward. It looks like Aubameyang is playing through the middle with Havertz in behind him.
1 min to KO: The match is under way! Dinamo Zagreb are wearing their all-blue home kit while Chelsea are in all-white with blue trim.
5 mins to KO: Not long until kick off in Zagreb. This can be a difficult place for an away team to play football, but Chelsea have the quality and experience to claim three points from this match. Anything less would be a disappointment.
15 mins to KO: It will be interesting to see how Tuchel uses Aubameyang at Chelsea. Of course, the pair have worked together before, but will the Gabon international be used off the left or will he be deployed through the middle as an out-and-out centre forward?
30 mins to KO: Chelsea made a number of big signings over the summer. They have overhauled their squad and there’s a sense that Tuchel has still to find the right formula on the pitch, but there’s no denying there is a lot of talent within his squad!
45 mins to KO: Dinamo Zagreb XI: Livakovic (GK) – Ristovski, Sutalo, Peric, Moharrami – Misic, Ljubicic, Ivanusec, Ademi, Orsic – Petkovic.
Ljubicic makes his Champions League debut for Dinamo Zagreb this evening. This is a team that will try to keep it compact.
60 mins to KO: Chelsea XI: Kepa (GK) – Azpilicueta, Fofana, Koulibaly – James, Mount, Kovacic, Chilwell – Havertz, Sterling, Aubameyang.
Kepa starts for Chelsea with Tuchel opting for a back three. But the big headline is that Aubameyang makes the starting lineup! He makes his Chelsea debut.
Here’s your Chelsea side tonight in Croatia! 👊@ParimatchGlobal | #UCL pic.twitter.com/VJwu0J1jqw
75 mins to KO: Chelsea have been drawn in a group alongside AC Milan and Red Bull Salzburg, and Dinamo Zagreb of course. The Blues should make it out of the group and into the last 16, but finishing ahead of AC Milan to take top spot will be tricky!
90 mins to KO: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ LIVE coverage of the Champions League Group E fixture between Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea.
Questions have been asked of Chelsea after some of their recent performances, but they are favourites to start their Champions League campaign on the front foot here.
Defender Bosko Sutalo, who joined Dinamo from Italian side Atalanta for £3.6 million ($4.1m) in June, may not return this season after having surgery on ligament damage.
Midfielder Robert Ljubicic — a £2.25 ($2.6m) addition in midfield from Rapid Vienna — makes his Champions League debut for the club, but forward Josip Drmic, who arrived on a free from Norwich City, has to wait to make his.
Dinamo Zagreb lineup (4-5-1): Dinamo Zagreb XI: Livakovic (GK) – Ristovski, Sutalo, Peric, Moharrami – Misic, Ljubicic, Ivanusec, Ademi, Orsic – Petkovic
N’Golo Kante was a key part of Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2020/21 and the midfielder’s expected absence until at least the end of September with a hamstring injury was felt by his side during their recent defeats at Southampton and Leeds United.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined from Barcelona on transfer deadline day, makes his despite suffering a broken jaw during an attack on his home but fellow new signing Denis Zakaria — on loan from Juventus — has to make for his debut after missing the win over West Ham United on Saturday while he was awaiting a work permit.
Chelsea lineup (3-5-2): Kepa (GK) – Azpilicueta, Fofana, Koulibaly – James, Mount, Kovacic, Chilwell – Havertz, Sterling, Aubameyang.
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UK: BT Sport will be showing the match live on TV and online/via the BT Sport app.
USA: CBS streams every match on Paramount+, with select matches televised on CBS or CBS Sports Network. Univision places select matches across its TV networks (Univision, TUDN, UniMas, and Galavision) and also makes all matches from the group stage on available via its ViX streaming platform. Any matches televised by either CBS or Univision can also be streamed on fuboTV.
Canada: Every Champions League game streams live on DAZN.
Australia: Fans can watch Champions League action via Stan Sport.