Toothless Chelsea fall to shock defeat in Champions League opener2 min read
Chelsea made a dismal start to their Champions League campaign as Mislav Orsic guided Dinamo Zagreb to a shock 1-0 win over the disjointed Blues on Tuesday.
Orsic handed the hosts a surprise lead with a neat finish after racing onto Bruno Petkovic’s flick-on just 13 minutes in, as Chelsea produced yet another toothless attacking display.
Chelsea debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggled before being withdrawn on the hour, with Dinamo keeping Thomas Tuchel’s men at arm’s length with a superb defensive performance.
Having made a below-par start in the Premier League, Chelsea must now play catch-up in what could prove an awkward Champions League group, with games against Milan and Salzburg to come.
Chelsea should have gone ahead when Aubameyang failed to reach Kai Havertz’s early cut-back, and paid the price when Dinamo hit the front shortly thereafter, as Orsic beat Wesley Fofana for pace before stabbing into the bottom-right corner.
Kepa Arrizabalaga saved well from Arijan Ademi’s volley as Dinamo grew in confidence, and Chelsea recorded just one effort on target before half-time as the hosts defended in numbers.
Aubameyang was denied by the offside flag when he tapped Ben Chilwell’s cut-back home five minutes after the break, before Chelsea were indebted to Kepa for tipping Stefan Ristovski’s sweet strike onto the post.
Substitute Hakim Ziyech was unable to turn home an enticing right-wing cross as the visitors became more desperate, and Kalidou Koulibaly was perhaps fortunate to avoid a second booking for a foul on Petkovic.
Tuchel introduced Armando Broja and Christian Pulisic in search of a leveller, with Dominik Livakovic finally called into action with five minutes left, his reflex save denying Ziyech seconds after Reece James struck the right-hand post, as the Blues failed to find a way past the stubborn hosts.