Dinamo Zagreb shocks Chelsea to ruin Aubameyang's debut

Chelsea made a miserable start to its Champions League campaign as Dinamo Zagreb ruined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's debut with a shock 1-0 victory on Tuesday.

Thomas Tuchel's team was expected to cruise through Group E after being drawn with Dinamo, Red Bull Salzburg and AC Milan.

But the task might not be so simple after Mislav Orsic's first-half strike punished the Blues for another sloppy display in Zagreb.

Having spent £250 million ($280 million) on new signings since the end of last season, Tuchel is under pressure to deliver silverware in return for that huge investment.

But Chelsea's spending spree has yet to pay dividends, with no eye-catching performances in the Premier League and now three successive away defeats in all competitions.

It was a debut to forget for Aubameyang, who joined Chelsea in a deadline-day deal from Barcelona just months after the acrimonious end to his time at Arsenal.

The 33-year-old had played for just eight minutes this season and only trained with Chelsea for the first time on Sunday. Aubameyang recently suffered a fractured jaw during a violent robbery at his home, forcing the Gabon striker to fly to Italy to have a custom-made protective mask fitted last weekend.

Whether it was the mask or his unfamiliarity with his new teammates, Aubameyang looked uncomfortable as he struggled to escape the Croatian champions' stifling defense.

The first ominous sign came when he didn't attack the near post as Kai Havertz whipped in a tempting low cross.

Moments later, Aubameyang ran clean through on goal, but took too long to decide whether to shoot or pass to Raheem Sterling, allowing Zagreb to avert the danger.

Chelsea monopolized possession in the early stages, but it was caught cold by a ruthless Dinamo counter in the 13th minute.

Despite spending a combined £100 million on Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly, who both started in Chelsea's defense, Tuchel's men have had a soft center so far this season and Orsic exploited that weakness.

When Bruno Petkovic headed Robert Ljubicic's pass into Orsic's path, Fofana was left trailing in the Croatian's wake as he raced half the length of the pitch to flick a composed finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tuchel had dropped Edouard Mendy after his shaky start to the season, with Kepa replacing the Senegal keeper, who is also dealing with a patella tendon injury.

"Kepa deserves for a long time to play, it's a good moment for Edou to take a breath. He was a bit unlucky in the last games, not even bad but unlucky," Tuchel said.

Kepa could do nothing about Orsic's opener, but the Spaniard stopped Chelsea falling further behind when he palmed away Arijan Ademi's stinging strike.

Dinamo was pressing tirelessly, giving wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell little space to make the buccaneering runs that usually provide such quality service to Chelsea's forwards.

Tuchel sent on Hakim Ziyech for Cesar Azpilicueta at halftime as he switched to a back four in a bid to solve the conundrum.

The change gave Chelsea some impetus and Aubameyang tapped in Chilwell's pass immediately after the interval, only for the goal to be disallowed as the defender had strayed offside to reach Mateo Kovacic's pass.

Dinamo were unfazed by that escape and almost doubled their lead when Stefan Ristovski's 25-yard rocket was tipped onto the bar by Kepa's brilliant save.

Aubameyang's underwhelming debut lasted an hour before he was replaced by Armando Broja.

Chelsea grew increasingly desperate as the match wore and its luck was out in the closing stages.

James hit the post with a ferocious drive before Mason Mount's close-range effort was repelled by Dominik Livakovic.


© Agence France-Presse

10 comments about "Dinamo Zagreb shocks Chelsea to ruin Aubameyang's debut".
  1. Santiago 1314, September 7, 2022 at 9:55 a.m.

    Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah... Nah, Nee, Nah, Nahhh Hey, Hey GOODBYE.!!! TT
    Dufus... Can't seem to stay at any Top Team for too Long...
    Red Bull Leipzig Looking for a Coach.???  Just Sayin

  2. John Sabala replied, September 7, 2022 at 10:47 a.m.

    Hey Santi, goes to show why team chemistry is so important. Chelsea had it last year, and it all began to fall apart with the signing of Lukaku.  So lets repeat our mistakes by spending money on high profile players and not look at the individuals to see if they will coalasce into a team that performs well together as a whole.  So spending more money is not the answer and not sure TT's draconian tactics will now work with these guys. 

    Best example of this has been PSG.  I watch their game against Juventus and the first half they played as a team. Working together, being unselfish and working towards a common goal. Second half was the old PSG. Neymar does not pass to a wide open Mbappe who later does the same thing to Neymar. Score is 4-0 and the game is over before McKennie is able to make it a close game again.  The top manager knows how to get his team to work together. If a part does not work you replace it whether it is the player's skillset or attitude. We shall see.

  3. R2 Dad replied, September 7, 2022 at 4:26 p.m.

    I think getting Ziyech, CP, Havertz and Auba on the same page will deliver results.  If their possession game is not happening because of an aggressive press, there is no reason why they can't defend and counter for a half to save energy. Who is most pragmatic, Ponch or Potter? I don't think Zizou is in the conversation. What about Parker, Klinsmann, or even Benitez? 

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, September 7, 2022 at 4:38 p.m.

    I think Zidsne is Holding Out for the France Job, after the November WC... Don't know if it's already a "Done Deal" or France has to do a Belly Flop for him to get the job.????
    I would say it's Final or Bust for France.!?!?!?

  5. Santiago 1314 replied, September 7, 2022 at 4:39 p.m.

    Agreed JS... PSG will "Eat their Own" at the Wrong Moment, like always.!!!

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, September 7, 2022 at 4:44 p.m.

    R2... No way any of those Guys are going to take any Meaningful Minutes off of Sterling or Mount...
    Only chance they have is to try;
    CP -Sterling- Ziyech

    Coach deserves to be Fired for STARTING a player with a Broken Jaw, who has only been with the Team for 6 days... Especially in an AWAY GAME.!!!!... Epitome of Stupid.!!!!

  7. R2 Dad replied, September 7, 2022 at 4:54 p.m.

    Only problem is that Havertz and Mount have done nothing this season. Last season, different story. Curious how the new manager will mix and match.

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, September 7, 2022 at 8:56 p.m.

    R2; let me Expand my intial thought ....
    Would an American Owner on a English Team, Play an American WC player(CP), over the Minutes of an English Player(Sterling or Mount).???

  9. frank schoon, September 7, 2022 at 5:07 p.m.

    Mr. Turbo Tuchel should never have been hired by Chelsea. He came in when Frank Lampard was building a 'footballing' team as a result he came into a team that brought in player who had great skills and technique like Ziyech. As a result, he had build a team that was Turbo with a sprinkling of talented that weren't suited for this foam on the mouth type of football.

    The next coach will have to first see what kind of soccer Chelsea wants to play . I think Tuchel's style was short term and it was successful like but that wasn't going to last long...There were many players that wanted to leave Chelsea that didn't like Tuchel's style of ball

  10. Ben Myers replied, September 7, 2022 at 10:45 p.m.

    YES!  I have long said that Tuchel got lucky and capitalized on the development of Chelsea midfielders by one of the best English midfielders ever.  The exodus of players from Chelsea may have been influenced by the Abramovich saga, but I am pretty sure that they did not like to play for Tuchel as well.

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