Chelsea were stunned by Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia on Tuesday evening in Zagreb as the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage kicked off.
Mislav Orsic became the man of the moment, as he scored in the 13th minute for the Croatian club side.
It showed the Croatian side was determined to get the victory at all cost having played six games to qualify for the lucrative group stage.
Two last-minute signings, Pierre Aubameyang and Wesley Fofana, started for Chelsea while Kepa Arrizabalaga replaced the error-prone Edouard Mendy in the starting 11.
Five minutes into the game, Aubameyang almost assisted Raheem Sterling in scoring the opening goal after receiving a pass from Reece James, but the assistant referee ruled the attempt offside.
It was the first match in which the semi-automatic robot was deployed and the first player it caught was Ben Chilwell in the 13th minute.
A minute later, James’ interception on Sadegh Moharrami to Havertz went too far for the German to attempt a scoring.
In the seventh minute, Aubameyang failed to connect properly to a Mateo Kovacic left sided cross.
He missed a one-on-one with the goalkeeper a minute later.
Having made attempts towards goal in the last 10 minutes, Chelsea suffered from a quick counterattack they started with when a pullout from Zagreb’s defender Robert Ljubicic reached Petkovic who headed past Koulibaly and Fofana to Mislav Orsic who then drove towards goal before flicking the ball over Arrizabalaga for the first Champions League group stage goal of the season.
Chelsea boasted more ball possession, but the hosts were organised at the back and kept the Chelsea attackers at bay.
Ademi put Kepa to test in the 30th minute but the Chelsea goalkeeper pushed the ball onto the post to keep the Blues in the game.
Sterling could have levelled for the Blues when he dribbled past two Zagreb defenders, but the English international had his shot blocked in the 44th minute.
Tuchel began the second half by introducing Hakim Ziyech for Cesar Azpilicueta.
The Chelsea forward quickly introduced himself in the 47th minute with a shot from outside the box, but it was tame and easily collected by the goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
Aubameyang’s tap-in goal was rightly ruled offside following Chilwell straying marginally offside.
Kepa parried Stefan Ristovski’s long-range shot in the 57th minute as the Croats showed their counterattacking poise.
Tuchel needed to refresh his team’s attacks, and he sent on Jorginho for Kovacic two minutes later.
Despite the change in attackers with the duo of Armando Broja for Aubameyang in the 59th minute and Christian Pulisic for Sterling 16 minutes later, Chelsea still failed to break the determined Zagreb defense.
The last 10 minutes of the game saw the Blues put more pressure on the Croats for an equaliser.
Havertz missed a glorious header while Zieych’s cross was blocked.
James forced Dominick into a frantic wave while Ziyech had a frustrating night embellished by two free kicks which he shoddily missed-not clearing the defensive wall on the two occasions.
With the defeat to Zagreb, Chelsea lost its third consecutive game for the first time under Tuchel after the December 2020 game under Lampard.
Elsewhere, Dortmund terrified Akinkunmi Amoo’s side Copenhagen 3-0 at the Signal Iduna Park to begin their Champions League campaign on a high note.
Two goals in the first half from Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro. Jude Bellingham added a third goal in the second half.
What would have been a consolation goal from Rasmus Falk was chalked off by the VAR in the 89th minute.
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