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Chelsea v Dinamo Zagreb Live Commentary, 03/11/2022

FT
2 - 1
CHE
DIN
R. Sterling (18)
D. Zakaria (30)
B. Petković (7)
Stamford Bridge

Commentary

That's all from Stamford Bridge today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
While Dinamo are now out of Europe entirely, they must concentrate solely on the latest defence of their domestic title. Chelsea, meanwhile, are set for a high-stakes London derby against Arsenal at the weekend, then await the Champions League's knockout stage draw.
Though the margin of victory was only one goal, Chelsea secure a fourth straight Champions League win with a merited victory against disappointing Dinamo. After the visitors went ahead early on, against the run of play, they were unable to sustain much momentum and conceded most of the possession and territory - plus, crucially, two goals. They finish bottom of Group E, with only a shock success against the Blues in Zagreb to show for their efforts; Chelsea win the group and march on to the last 16.
90' + 6' FULL-TIME: CHELSEA 2-1 DINAMO ZAGREB
90' + 5' The game gets back under way, with the initial stoppage-time period already played, but Chilwell is still stranded on the touchline. He then has to be helped hobble towards the far side of the pitch. That's a sad end to a fine game for the Chelsea defender.
90' + 4' After an excellent performance on the left flank, Chilwell suddenly hits the deck clutching the back of his leg. This does not look good for the England full-back, who clearly requires medical help.
90' + 2' SAVE! Livakovic keeps the score at 2-1, as he somehow denies Gallagher's shot from close range, then bounces back to his feet to berate Dinamo's defenders! Pulisic provided the cross from the left byline, but Gallagher surely had to score from there - a golden chance missed!
90' With a dipping free-kick from around 20 yards out, Mount drifts his attempt wide of the left-hand post.
D. Špikić
M. Oršić
Dinamo Zagreb
89' Star striker Orsic now takes his leave, with Spikic given a brief run-out in his place.
S. Moharrami
Yellow Card
Dinamo Zagreb
89' For clipping the heels of Gallagher in midfield, the weary Moharrami receives a yellow card.
88' Despite their substitutions, Dinamo look a tired team now, and they can't help but be deflated by how events have turned out. They had some hope in the early minutes, but it's been a struggle since then.
86' An inviting cross from the left by the highly effective Chilwell finds Thiago Silva virtually unmarked in the centre, but the veteran defender can't untangle his legs and makes little meaningful contact with the ball. That was a good chance to secure all three points.
J. Drmić
B. Petković
Dinamo Zagreb
83' After opening the scoring at Stamford Bridge, Petkovic's influence has waned. He makes way for Swiss striker Drmic.
M. Bulat
A. Ademi
Dinamo Zagreb
83' A last throw of the dice by Cacic sees a double Dinamo change. First, skipper Ademi is replaced by young Bulat in midfield.
C. Pulišić
R. Sterling
Chelsea
83' Scorer of Chelsea's equaliser today, Sterling makes way in the closing stages; Pulisic is on for a brief cameo.
81' With a sliver of space opening up in front of him, Gallagher lines up a low shot from the left side of the box, which is deflected a foot or two wide of the right-hand post. That's another corner for Chelsea - their eighth overall, and seventh of the second half.
78' Dinamo seem resigned to their fate now, as their brief spell of resistance at the start of the second half has faded badly over the past 20 minutes. A European exit surely awaits.
76' While never quite at full tilt today, Chelsea have still attempted 15 shots in this game, which is already higher than their season average of 14.3 in the Champions League.
74' SAVE! In desperation, Petkovic risks a yellow card when chasing back to upend Gallagher on the edge of his own box. He avoids such a sanction, but his goalkeeper, Livakovic, is then forced to tip the ball over from Mount's well-struck effort from the free-kick.
73' After a last-ditch block by Sutalo concedes a corner, Chilwell's inswinging cross from the set-piece is headed well over the crossbar by Thiago Silva, who rises highest inside the penalty area.
R. Loftus-Cheek
D. Zakaria
Chelsea
71' After scoring on his Champions League debut for Chelsea, Zakaria has now picked up an apparently minor injury and can't continue. Therefore, Loftus-Cheek is brought on as his replacement.
M. Emreli
S. Ristovski
Dinamo Zagreb
69' Cacic makes an attacking change, as Ristovski is withdrawn for Emreli.
67' Despite Dinamo's need to find an equaliser, they simply can't retrieve the ball, as Chelsea are back in dominant mode. It's all being played around the central third of the pitch, though.
A. Broja
P. Aubameyang
Chelsea
65' Broja replaces Aubameyang up front.
Thiago Silva
K. Koulibaly
Chelsea
65' Finally, Koulibaly steps aside for Thiago Silva in central defence.
C. Gallagher
K. Havertz
Chelsea
64' Potter decides to make a triple substitution, with an important weekend fixture perhaps in mind. First, the impressive Havertz makes way for Gallagher.
62' Chilwell is involved again, as from his near-permanent position on the left side of Dinamo's area, he almost picks out Aubameyang's sprint into the centre. However, the ball zips just past the Gabon international's outstreched boot.
61' From a tight angle on the left side of the box, Chilwell steers a low drive into the side-netting, with Livakovic anxiously scrambling across to cover his near post.
60' With nothing left to lose, Dinamo are now having a real run at finding an equaliser. A determined dribble by Orsic sees him evade two blue-shirted defenders on the left, but when he releases the ball for strike partner Petkovic, the latter stumbles on it and loses the chance to strike.
58' Livakovic makes a routine save low down in the centre of his goal, after Azpilicueta crosses from the right for Havertz to guide a header at goal from near the penalty spot. A decent effort, but it lacked a little in both power and direction.
56' CLOSE! A sweeping Dinamo move ends with Ljubicic laying the ball off for Ivanusec, who then tees up Orsic. The latter steers the ball a foot or two wide of the right-hand post from the brink of the box!
55' Chilwell's run down the left ends with a cross being blocked just inside the box, then, when the ball breaks to Aubameyang, the Chelsea striker skews his shot from a tight angle way off target.
L. Ivanušec
Yellow Card
Dinamo Zagreb
54' A blatant rugby-style tackle on Zakaria's waist sees Ivanusec's name taken by the referee; he's the latest man booked.
52' OFF THE BAR! So close! A briiliant strike from Aubameyang rattles the crossbar from some 20 yards out, leaving Livakovic all but beaten! Fortunately for the visitors, the ball then bounces clear to relative safety.
51' Ljubicic is penalised for tugging back Azpilicueta after gifting the Chelsea captain the ball. Then, from the free-kick, Sterling wins a corner on the right following Peric's block. Dinamo just about clear their lines from the cross.
49' SAVE! After a quick counter-attack, Ivanusec lines up a hopeful shot at goal from outside the area, which is deflected behind for a corner. From the subsequent set-piece, Sutalo rises highest in the centre of the box to power a header on target; forcing Mendy into a sharp save low down to his left!
47' As of half-time, Chelsea will win Group E by three points from Milan, while Dinamo would finish rock-bottom if they can't turn things around in London.
46' Chelsea kick off, and we are back under way at Stamford Bridge!
While Chelsea have won all three of their previous Champions League games this term when leading at the interval, Dinamo have been beaten twice in the two matches when they've gone down the tunnel behind at the break. That does not bode well for the Croatian champions, who have a mountain to climb during the second half.
Having named a relatively strong side despite not requiring any points to progress as Group E winners, Chelsea would not have expected to fall behind early on. After doing so, though, the 2021 European champions eased their way back into proceedings and hold a merited one-goal lead at half-time. Though far from their fluent best, the Blues have been largely dominant against a Dinamo outfit still gunning for a win that could help them finish third and claim a Europa League playoff. As things stand, that will now require a miraculous turnaround.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: CHELSEA 2-1 DINAMO ZAGREB
45' Having faded following their fast start, Dinamo are now creeping back into the game, and they earn another corner as the fourth official indicates just one stoppage-time minute is to be played.
43' Positioned midway inside Chelsea's half, on the right, Ristovski floats a lofted ball towards the back post, which Azpilicueta rather cautiously opts to turn behind without letting it bounce in the box. That turns out to be a decent decision, as Dinamo fail to make anything of the consequent corner.
41' A series of free-kicks continue to break up play in a disjointed phase of the game, and it seems Chelsea are happy to conserve energy now and retain possession until half-time.
K. Koulibaly
Yellow Card
Chelsea
39' A terribly mistimed challenge by Koulibaly on Petkovic sends the latter crashing to the turf; deservedly the Chelsea centre-back is then booked.
36' With the home side now approaching their fluent best, Dinamo are left chasing shadows at times. That's no good to them, as they must win to have any chance of finishing third in Group E and staying in Europe.
34' Dinamo really are ailing now, as they find themselves totally on the back foot. Surely all they can hope for is to hold out until half-time and then regroup ahead of the second half.
32' Chelsea have enjoyed 66 per cent of the possession over the last 15 minutes, and having attempted the last five shots too, they are clearly in the ascendant now.
D. Zakaria
Goal
Chelsea
30' CHELSEA GO IN FRONT! Forgotten man Zakaria pops up on the edge of the area and applies the finish to a smart Chelsea move with a low shot that just trickles over the line despite the best efforts of Moharrami. Havertz was instrumental in the build-up, and the German's pull-back from the touchline was deflected right into Zakaria's path - it's now 2-1 to the hosts!
29' MISS! After receiving the ball from Sterling out on the right side of the area, Havertz pulls it back from the byline for the England forward, but a lack of composure costs him; he sends his shot flying over the crossbar from no more than 10 yards out!
27' With little chance of winning the ball fairly, Ristovski takes a hack at Jorginho in midfield, and is perhaps fortunate to avoid a booking - only a free-kick is awarded.
25' Following an inswinging corner from the right by Chilwell, a flicked header by Koulibaly glances at least a yard wide of the far post, as Chelsea take the upper hand after their shaky start.
J. Mišić
Yellow Card
Dinamo Zagreb
22' For flicking a leg out at Mount, who is escaping upfield, Misic is shown the game's first yellow card.
20' Aubameyang's assist and Sterling's goal are both their second of this season's Champions League campaign, which makes them Chelsea's leading player in either category.
R. Sterling
Goal
Chelsea
18' CHELSEA STRIKE BACK! Sterling hauls the hosts level at Stamford Bridge! Jorginho's incisive throughball from midfield finds Aubameyang in the box, before a cute backheel sets up Sterling, who sidesteps a challenge and coolly slots the ball into the bottom-left corner! It's now 1-1, and all to play for!
P. Aubameyang
Assist
Chelsea
18' Latching on to Jorginho's perceptive pass, Aubameyang flicks the ball back towards Sterling, who applies the finishing touch to Chelsea's opening goal.
16' A swinging cross from the left by Havertz picks out a clever run by Sterling towards the back post, but under little pressure, the Chelsea forward can only shin a volleyed effort wide of the target from around 10 yards out.
14' Already behind today, Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb on the first matchday of this season’s Champions League: only one team has ever beaten the Blues both home and away in a group stage campaign - Basel, in 2013.
12' Chelsea have yet to muster a coherent response to going behind, and it appears that they are not quite tuned into this game. That's perhaps understandable with little to play for and some important matches visible on the near horizon.
10' Kouilbaly has been assessed by the medics and is passed fit to continue for now; he rejoins the hosts' back four.
9' Having been felled by Petkovic inside his own half, Koulibaly stays down hurt. After a moment or two of concern, the Senegalese centre-back is helped off the pitch by a member of Chelsea's medical staff.
B. Petković
Goal
Dinamo Zagreb
7' DINAMO LEAD! With their first attack of the match, the Croatian champions strike! Capitalising on a lack of urgency in the Chelsea defence, Moharrami stands up a cross from the right flank to the far post, which is headed back into the path of Petkovic, who simply nods the ball past Mendy from close range and into the back of the net! 1-0 to Dinamo Zagreb!
5' In line with most pre-match expectations, Chelsea are dominating the ball in the early stages, though their visitors look fairly comfortable in a tight defensive shape.
3' After a sliding challenge on Azpilicueta, out on the left flank, Peric comes off worse and is writhing around in agony on the soaking wet turf. Fortunately, the action is not delayed for long and the Dinamo defender can continue.
1' Dinamo kick off, and we are underway in London!
The players are out on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, and with the Champions League anthem echoing around the ground, kick-off is now just moments away!
Despite the nature of their heavy defeat to Milan, the Dinamo starting XI is unchanged from that which lined up at Stadion Maksimir last week. After making several changes at the weekend, Ante Cacic recalls stars such as Orsic, Petkovic and captain Ademi today.
Mendy continues in goal for Chelsea today, after replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga at half-time in the defeat to Brighton, as the Spanish stopper has yet to recover from his foot injury. Mateo Kovacic also misses out, in his case due to a calf problem. Meanwhile, Koulibaly returns at centre-back, Zakaria makes a rare appearance in midfield and Aubameyang leads the line up front.
SUBS: Ivan Nevistic, Josip Drmic, Rasmus Lauritsen, Kevin Theophile-Catherine, Martin Baturina, Luka Menalo, Antonio Marin, Mahir Emreli, Petar Bockaj, Marko Bulat, Daniel Stefulj, Dario Spikic.
DINAMO ZAGREB (3-5-2): Dominik Livakovic; Dino Peric, Stefan Ristovski, Josip Sutalo; Sadegh Moharrami, Josip Misic, Luka Ivanusec, Arijan Ademi, Robert Ljubicic; Mislav Orsic, Bruno Petkovic.
SUBS: Marcus Bettinelli, Christian Pulisic, Marc Cucurella, Thiago Silva, Conor Gallagher, Armando Broja, Hakim Ziyech, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
CHELSEA (3-4-2-1): Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Kalidou Koulibaly, Trevoh Chalobah; Raheem Sterling, Denis Zakaria, Jorginho, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Kai Havertz; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Though they can no longer qualify for the last 16, Dinamo Zagreb are still in with a chance of snatching a back-door route to the Europa League - but only if they upset Chelsea and Milan beat Salzburg. It is, however, 24 years since the Croatian champions last won an away game in the Champions League, and they have picked up just one point since beating the Blues on Group E's opening matchday. That run includes a crushing 4-0 home loss to Milan eight days ago.
Already assured of top spot in Group E before today's final fixture, Chelsea have recovered from a sluggish start in Europe to win each of their last three games; scoring seven times and conceding just once in the process. After back-to-back victories over Italian champions Milan, Graham Potter's side secured their place in the knockout rounds with a 2-1 success against Salzburg last week. Following his failure against former club Brighton last weekend, Potter will be keen to restore the winning habit before tackling Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Champions League Group E clash between Chelsea and Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge!