Dinamo Zagreb stun woeful Blues in Champions League opener


Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb picked up a stunning 1-0 win over Chelsea in their 2022-23 UEFA Champions League Group E opener. The hosts shocked all of Europe after their win over two-time champions Chelsea.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was taking charge of the club for the 100th time and immediately included striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the starting line-up for his debut. He also handed big-money signing Wesley Fofana a Champions League debut as Thiago Silva was rested.

With the match still in its infancy and Chelsea bossing possession, Dinamo Zagreb took the lead against the run of play in the 13th minute following a brilliantly executed counter attack.

With most of Chelsea’s players in the opposition half, Kalidou Koulibaly misjudged a long punt forward, losing out to Bruno Petkovic who sent strike partner Mislav Orsic clear on goal. The 29-year-old showed great composure to hold off the retreating Fofana before producing a dinked finish over Kepa Arrizabalaga.

After scoring their goal, the hosts retreated into a solid wall, daring their opponents to try to break down their organised defence. The Blues failed to create any meaningful openings as the first half of the match came to an end.

The second half was more of the same as Dinamo Zagreb kept their shape brilliantly in and out of possession, limiting their visitors to half chances. They showed their threat once more in the second half as defender Stefan Ristovski found space to fire an effort goalwards, only for Kepa to pull off an outstanding save to tip the ball onto the frame of the goal.

As they looked for a way back into the game, the Blues continued to push and were nearly rewarded late on as Mason Mount volleyed an effort from inside the box, only for Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to get a strong hand to the ball and keep it out. Shortly after, Reece James was denied by the base of the post following a snapshot in the box as the home side held on for a famous win.

Dinamo Zagreb have now won only their third match in four UEFA Champions League group stage campaigns in their history. The Croatian side capitalised on Chelsea’s poor start to the season to compound the Blues’ woes. The Croatians’ U19 side also claimed a 4-2 win over Chelsea’s U19s in the UEFA Youth League.


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