Chelsea lost 1-0 to Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, September 6.
Dinamo and Chelsea faced off in the first game of this season’s edition of the Champions League. The hosts played in the UEFA Europa League last year and made their way through the qualifying rounds.
The Blues, on the other hand, won the competition in 2021 and were knocked out of the quarterfinals by eventual champions Real Madrid in 2022.
The game was bound to be exciting as the visitors have made somewhat of a shaky start to the season. Thomas Tuchel handed newcomer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his debut.
Chelsea made a composed start to the game, trying to keep possession and progress forward with a patient build-up. However, they were pegged back by Dinamo Zagreb just 13 minutes into the game. Bruno Petkovic played a timed pass into space, which Mislav Orsic latched onto. He then finished past Kepa with a deft finish to make it 1-0.
The visitors dominated possession but found it difficult to break down Dinamo’s rigid defensive lines. Mason Mount and Kai Havertz started positively, keeping Chelsea’s offense going with their passing and movement. The Blues continued to dominate possession but failed to arrive in Dinamo’s penalty area.
All of the Blues’ hard work towards the end of the first period was in vain as Dinamo Zagreb defended heroically. They went into the break holding onto their narrow one-goal lead.
Chelsea continued to dominate possession and created the majority of the chances as they came out for the second half. Tuchel made a flurry of substitutions in order to spark a change in the game, as well as with one eye on their game against Fulham in the Premier League in a few days. Hakim Ziyech was brought on for Cesar Azpilicueta at the break.
Jorginho and Armando Broja soon entered the fray but failed to make a telling impact as Chelsea trailed Dinamo. The hosts’ custodian Dominik Livakovic was tested several times but withstood the pressure in goal. He was aided by his backline of Dino Peric, Josip Sutalo and Stefan Ristovski, all of whom played incredible games.
A whopping eight minutes of stoppage time was added at the end of the second period. Chelsea continued to dominate possession and were afforded a chance to score from a late free-kick. Ziyech attempted a lackluster strike goalwards, which did not even make it past the wall.
Dinamo Zagreb held on to secure a heroic 1-0 win over Chelsea. That said, let’s take a look at how the Blues fared in this game.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6/10
Kepa was indecisive in his actions for the first goal Chelsea conceded. He could have charged out much later and made himself bigger when Orsic took the shot. He made two saves and distributed the ball with 69% accuracy.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10
Azpilicueta passed the ball well and held his width as part of Chelsea’s three at the back. He won three of his four duels and passed the ball with 80% accuracy. He was subbed off at half-time.
Wesley Fofana – 7/10
Fofana struggled against the pacey Orsic. He won 12 of his 21 duels, making five tackles and three clearances. Fofana passed the ball with 86% accuracy, including two key passes, one cross and one long ball.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 6.5/10
Koulibaly made a decent start to the game. He won nine of his 17 duels and made two interceptions and two tackles. He passed the ball with 92% accuracy, including one key pass and one long ball. Koulibaly was also shown a yellow card for a foul.
Reece James – 7/10
James was highly-active on the right flank as he pushed forward in attack and tracked back for defense as well. He played one key pass, two accurate crosses and two accurate long balls. He also won five of his 12 duels, completed two dribbles and hit the woodwork.
Mason Mount – 7/10
Mount made a positive start to the game and was in the thick of things in the first half. He played two key passes, one cross and three long balls. Mount attempted five shots in total, with just one on target. He also won five of his nine duels.
Mateo Kovacic – 7/10
Kovacic was sharp in midfield and distributed the ball well to his teammates to keep Chelsea’s moves flowing. He passed the ball with 90% accuracy, including one key pass an five long balls. Kovacic won six of his nine duels.
Ben Chilwell – 6.5/10
Chilwell looked to be in fine form as he made another good start to the game. He passed the ball with 89% accuracy, winning one of his four duels. He blocked one shot, made one interception and one tackle.
Kai Havertz – 7.5/10
The German made a bright start to the game, carrying the ball forward and by making smart runs in behind. He attempted three shots, with just one on target. Havertz completed four successful dribbles and won 12 of his 19 duels.
Raheem Sterling – 6/10
Sterling had a poor game overall as he failed to get involved in Chelsea’s attacks. He played in one accurate cross, won two of his ground duels and was subbed off after 75 minutes.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 6/10
Aubameyang made his debut for Chelsea in this game. He played for just under an hour as he was subbed off in the 59th minute. He only had 20 touches of the ball, playing one key pass and winning three of his five duels. Overall it was an underwhelming debut.
Hakim Ziyech – 5.5/10
Ziyech came on at halftime and failed to make an impact on the game. He looked off-color as he squandered back-to-back free kicks in second half stoppage time.
Jorginho – 6/10
The Italian came on just before the hour mark in a bid for Chelsea to regain control in midfield. While they continued to dominate possession, they failed to create any significant chances.
Armando Broja – 6/10
Broja replaced Aubameyang just before the hour mark. He put in a decent performance but got limited service from his midfielders.
Marc Cucurella – 6/10
Cucurella was brought into the game with one eye on Chelsea’s game over the weekend. He played a decent game but failed to overturn the deficit as they lost.
Christian Pulisic – 5.5/10
Pulisic had a glorious chance to equalize at the death but attempted a weak header that barely threatened the goal.