Dinamo Shock Chelsea To Ruin Aubameyang’s Debut

Dinamo Zagreb's Croatian forward Mislav Orsic (L) scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) and Chelsea (ENG) at The Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on September 6, 2022. (Photo by Damir Sencar / AFP)
Dinamo Zagreb’s Croatian forward Mislav Orsic (L) scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) and Chelsea (ENG) at The Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on September 6, 2022. (Photo by Damir Sencar / AFP)

 

Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea are “missing everything” after Dinamo Zagreb ruined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s debut with a shock 1-0 victory in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Tuchel’s side were expected to cruise through Group E after being drawn with Dinamo, Red Bull Salzburg and AC Milan.

But Chelsea’s task might not be so simple after Mislav Orsic’s first-half strike punished the Blues for another sloppy display in their group opener 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’s an underperformance from us. We have the same story as always. We have an OK start, but don’t finish our half chances,” Tuchel said.

“We don’t feel it when the game is already there to put to bed in the first 20 minutes. Then we concede one counter-attack, which is far too easy, and from there we struggled.”

It was a debut to forget for Aubameyang, who joined Chelsea in a £10.3 million 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 Gabonese 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 team-mates, Aubameyang looked uncomfortable as he struggled to escape the Croatian champions’ stifling defence.

“I will not talk about individuals today. We play as a team, we lose as a team,” Tuchel said of Aubameyang.

“Too much to analyse. I’m a part of it. We are clearly not there, where we need to be and where we can be. So it’s on me, it’s on us, we need to find solutions. At the moment, everything is missing.”

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 monopolised possession in the early stages, but they were caught cold by a ruthless Dinamo counter in the 13th minute.

Underwhelming Aubameyang

Despite spending a combined £100 million on Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly, who both started in Chelsea’s defence, Tuchel’s men have had a soft centre so far this term 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.

Dinamo were 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.

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 their 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 as Dinamo won for only the sixth time in 43 matches in the competition.

Jesus Hat-Trick Powers Man City Into UCL Round Of 16

 

A hat trick by Gabriel Jesus has powered Manchester City into the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League. 

Man City came from behind to win 4-1, shattering Dinamo Zagreb’s Champions League ambition.

READ ALSO: Champions League Debutants Atalanta Reach Last 16

A win for Dinamo would have given the Croatian side a place in the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

Champions League: Dinamo Zagreb Hold Shakhtar To Draw In Ukraine

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukrainian goalkeeper Andrey Pyatov jumps for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C football match between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at the OSK Metalist stadium in Kharkiv on October 22, 2019. Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

 

Brazilian Dodo came off the bench to grab the equaliser and earn Shakhtar Donetsk a 2-2 draw with Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League clash in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Dodo rounded Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to slot home in the 75th minute after latching onto a pass from Alan Patrick, another member of Shakhtar’s sizeable contingent of Brazilian players.

The result leaves both clubs level on four points after three games in Group C, meaning Manchester City will be five points clear at the top of the section if Pep Guardiola’s side can inflict a third defeat in as many games on Atalanta.

The Croatian visitors had earlier come from behind to lead in Kharkiv, to where Shakhtar are exiled because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Marlos set up Yevhen Konoplyanka to put Shakhtar ahead in the 16th minute, only for Spanish sensation Dani Olmo to turn in a Mislav Orsic cross and bring Dinamo level before the half-hour mark.

They then took the lead with an hour gone when Orsic scored from the spot after Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov recklessly hauled Mario Gavranovic to the floor.

But Dinamo, who lost every game when they last reached the group stage in 2016-17, could not hold onto the lead and were left frustrated as Olmo hit the outside of a post at the end of a late counter-attack.

AFP

Super Subs Sterling, Foden Fire Man City Past Dinamo Zagreb

Manchester City’s Phil Foden (L) celebrates with Raheem Sterling (R) after scoring their second goal against Dinamo Zagreb at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden came off the bench to score the goals as Manchester City closed in on the last 16 of the Champions League by beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

City enjoyed 71 percent possession and had 19 attempts on goal, but had to wait until 24 minutes from time to make the breakthrough when Sterling rounded off an excellent team move.

The England international then teed up Foden to secure all three points with virtually the last kick of the game as Pep Guardiola’s men took a stranglehold on Group C.

The English champions have maximum points from their opening two games with back-to-back matches against bottom-of-the-group Atalanta to come.

On the eve of the game, Guardiola called on the City fans to turn up on Champions League nights if his side are to turn their domestic dominance into finally conquering Europe this season.

The Etihad was not sold out, but there were still far more in attendance than at the shock defeat to Lyon in City’s first Champions League home game of last season.

Those that came never got the goalfest they came for as the hosts peppered the Croatians’ goal, but unusually lacked a clinical touch to make their superiority count.

Sergio Aguero had the first chance when a slack pass back freed the Argentine on goal, but Dominik Livakovic stood up well to block as City’s all-time top goalscorer tried to round him.

Bernardo Silva was recalled to the starting line-up with Kevin de Bruyne sidelined by a groin injury and Sterling rested.

The Portuguese international could be facing a lengthy domestic ban as the English Football Association investigates a tweet he posted comparing a photo of teammate and close friend Benjamin Mendy to a black cartoon character for alleged racism.

Bernardo scored the first hat-trick of his career in City’s last home game, but was wayward with two great chances on his trusted left foot before being replaced for Sterling on the hour mark.

City should still have been well ahead by then as Aguero blazed over after doing the hard work in spinning onto Mendy’s through ball.

Ilkay Gundogan then smashed against the bar and David Silva side-footed wide when it seemed easier to score.

Dinamo had romped to a 4-0 victory over Atalanta on matchday one, but barely ventured over the halfway line and their brave resistance was finally ended with a wonderfully worked team goal.

Rodrigo’s pass opened up the Zagreb defence and Riyad Mahrez’s low cross left Sterling with the simple task of forcing the ball over the line from point-blank range.

That should have alleviated City’s frustrations for the night, but Guardiola was shown a yellow card by Dutch referee Serdar Gouzubuyuk and cut an increasingly annoyed figure on the touchline as the hosts saw a number of penalty claims turned away.

There was little for the Catalan coach to be concerned about, though, as City were never in danger of conceding and finally made the game safe deep into stoppage time when Sterling led a counter-attack and teed up Foden to blast into the far corner.

AFP

Masked Assailants Attack Dinamo Zagreb Coach

Dinamo Zagreb’s head coach Mario Cvitanovic speaks during a press conference in Zagreb, on September 21, 2017. Photo: STRINGER / AFP

Dinamo Zagreb coach Mario Cvitanovic was beaten by two masked assailants with bats in front of his apartment in the Croatian capital, the club said on Thursday.

The 42-year-old former international, who took over as Dinamo coach in July, suffered a broken arm in the attack late on Wednesday as he returned from a Croatian Cup match, local media reported.

“My life is football… My relations with players are excellent,” Cvitanovic told a press conference with a cast on his arm.

He did not elaborate on the possible motives for the attack.

“My private life is clean, spotless… I only want to be a football coach.

“I want to live football and one cannot take this away from me.”

The beating comes a month after the club’s former boss Zdravko Mamic, who is currently on trial for corruption, was shot in the leg by unknown perpetrators in Bosnia.

“Unfortunately this is only the continuation of… completely legalised violence against people from our club,” said the statement from Dinamo Zagreb, describing the attack against Cvitanovic as “cowardly”.

The club urged the authorities to “at last wake up and stop ignoring everything that’s going on regarding Dinamo”.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said the police were “working intensively” to find the perpetrators of the latest assault.

Mamic, considered the most powerful man in Croatian football, was also hit on the head in July by a man on the southern island of Brac, causing him to fall into the sea.

He went on trial in April, accused of abuse of power and graft that cost Dinamo more than 15 million euros and the state 1.5 million euros. The courtroom has seen regular angry outbursts from the accused.

After nine matches, Dinamo are currently leading the national championships with 25 points.

Since the former Yugoslav republic’s independence the club has won the national title 18 times.

AFP

Champions League: Leicester City Top Group After Draw With Koebenhavn

leicester city KoebenhavnEnglish side Leicester City on Wednesday maintained top spot in the Group G of the Champions League, with 10 points, looking good to go to the next stage of the championship. 

The champions of the English Premiership kept maintained their clean sheet, with a 0-0 draw with FC Koebenhavn, which played host to the City side.

Leicester had won the first leg match at home.

Just as he did when the two sides met two weeks ago, Kasper Schmeichel made a brilliant late save to deny Andreas Cornelius a goal.

Kusk crossed from the right and Cornelius sent a downward header towards the bottom right corner, only for Schmeichel to plunge to his right and claw it out.

The rebound came to Santander, a few yards out, but without composure, he slashed it high and wide.

FC Porto’s 1 – 0 victory in the game against Club Brugge, extended Leicester’s day of celebration, since they need to play another game to be sure of qualification for the last 16.

In other games Monaco defeated CSKA Moscow 30 while Tottenham Hotspur lost at home to Bayer Leverkusen in Group E games.
In Group F, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting CP’s game ended 1 – 0 in favour of Dortmund.

In Group H, Juventus and Lyon drew 1-1 while Sevilla defeated Dinamo Zagreb 4 – 0.

Arsenal Beat Bournemouth 2-0, Go Top Of Premier League

arsenalArsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Monday night to move to the top of the Premier League table.

However, their position is only secured going into the New Year if Leicester fail to win against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Gabriel’s header and Mesut Ozil’s strike sealed the points for the Gunners with Ozil adding to his assist tally for the defender’s goal.

Asides the 2-0 win pushing Arsenal to the top of the log, the win also meant a personal milestone for goalkeeper Petr Cech who broke the Premier League clean-sheet record.

The legendary goalkeeper secured his 170th shut-out to move past David James’ long-standing record.

Arsène Wenger described the win as a nervy one considering how badly they needed to recover from the humiliation at Southampton.

“It was nervy at the start because we had to swallow the 4-0 [at Southampton] and it didn’t go well and I think we were focused at the start not to concede a stupid goal and got slowly into the game.

“I changed a few players and put Calum Chambers at the centre of the park so it took us a while to get going but I think in the last 70 minutes we were in control of the game and did very well,” he said.

The manager believes his boys have moved on from the disappointment as the victory meant they responded well. “You can’t go from the start of the season to the end of the season without disappointment at some stage,” he said demanding more consistence from his players.

He also had kind words for midfield maestro, Mesut Ozil.

“Mesut was the focal point of our team because we had a new midfield today and he gives reassurance with his technical security and ability. When we had problems in the first part of the game it went always through him and it gives you confidence and security.

“I have seen a few good games from Ozil but what is important is that he convinces everybody that he is not only a talented player but a player that is always willing to work for the team and work hard. He has added scoring goals to his assists and overall he is a complete player.

Knockout: Southampton Humiliate Arsenal On Boxing Day

SouthamptonSouthampton humiliated Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day as the gunners missed a chance to go top of the English Premier League.

The title favourites had gone into the match needing a win to top the log, with Liverpool having defeated Leicester City 1-0 earlier in the day.

The Gunners, however, started badly with the saints ensuring that Wenger’s men were not allowed space for their style of football.

Southampton showed better coordination as they mounted pressure on Arsenal and deservedly went into half time leading 1-0.

Backup right back, Cuco Martina, chose the right match to show his quality with a spectacular low volley in the 19th minute.

The goal came after a long spell of pressure on a shaky Arsenal defence, marshaled by Laurent Koscielny and Par Matersacker.

In the second half, Southampton continued from where they left off and quickly put the ball in Arsenal’s net but was rightly ruled out for offside. They, however, made it 2-0 in the 50th minute through Shane Long to further darken Arsenal’s Christmas.

Wenger introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Joel Campbell in the 64th minute and it appeared the players suddenly realised what was at stake as they tried to get back in the game.

The night got worse instead. It was 3-0 in the 69th minute courtesy Jose Miguel Fonte and Shane Long completed a brace in the 90th minute as the hosts refused to be intimidated by Arsenal’s stars and pre-match rating.

The Saints held on for a famous 4-0 victory over the London giants as Arsene Wenger’s men missed a glorious chance to become league leaders after trailing Leicester for weeks.

Wenger Warns Arsenal Ahead of Southampton Trip

ArsenalArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger has warned his players not to slip when they visit out-of-form Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Boxing Day.

Wenger’s side travel to St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday looking for a fourth successive league victory as they look to keep pace with leaders Leicester City.

Arsenal trail Claudio Ranieri’s men by two points, but enjoy a four-point cushion to third-placed Manchester City.

To maintain that difference, they need to remain focused against Ronald Koeman’s side, who have just one point from their last five matches, a 1-1 home draw with bottom club Aston Villa.

“For us the most important thing is to focus on ourselves, and not to speculate too much on any weakness of Southampton,” Wenger said.

“When you look at their team they have the potential to be a very strong team. We have to convince ourselves that again we need a top-level performance.

“Football is pragmatic. No one can predict what will happen in the next 17 games. So we want to go in with same attitude, spirit, and earn the right to win the games.”

Santi Cazorla (knee), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (calf), remain sidelined for Arsenal although Sanchez is closer to return than others.

Southampton also welcome their goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, back after missing two matches with a toe injury.

Facing Arsenal will be a daunting task for the hosts given the impressive recent displays by Wenger’s side, the visitors having beaten title rivals Manchester City 2-1 last time out.

“We know we’re in a difficult situation,” said Koeman, whose side won the fixture 2-0 last season. “We had a bad run last year, but not like this one.

“It is always difficult, it means maybe a lack in confidence and belief, but the best medicine is to win the game. The team is changing a bit, the team is doubting their qualities and not playing as they can, and that’s all about confidence.

“But they have to realise we can play good football, but we need to score when we have chances.”

Ozil Shines As Arsenal Beat Manchester City 2-1

ArsenalArsenal defeated Manchester City 2-1 on Monday night to secure second place in the English Premier League going into Christmas.

Theo Walcott opened scoring in the 33rd minute with a special goal. Feeding off a perfect pass from Mesut Ozil near the corner of the box on the left side, he cut in onto his favoured right foot and curled a shot into the bottom corner.

Olivier Giroud scored the second goal late to ensure the Gunners were comfortable going into the half time break.

Some great hustle by Walcott gave the Gunners an attack in the City half, and they wasted no time.

Ozil turned the provider again spraying another perfect pass down the left for Giroud. It looked like Otamenti was set to block the Frenchman, but he let the ball run across to his left foot and lashed a powerful finish between the keeper’s legs.

Man City turned on the heat in the second half and the Arsenal players stood firm but there appeared to be no danger in the 82nd minute when Toure picked up the ball on the edge of the box and lifted a magnificent first-time effort into the far corner, with Cech and everyone else rooted to the spot.

The Gunners held on nervously in the final minutes for a hard fought 2-1 victory to the relief of fans at the Emirates.

Arsenal, Bayern Munich Coaches Anticipate UCL Victory

Arsenal, Bayern Munich Coaches Anticipate UCL Victory
Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger

Coaches of English and Bundesliga giants, Arsenal and Bayern Munich, have expressed optimism of securing victory in Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group F matches.

Speaking ahead of the ‘make-or-break’ clash against Olympiacos, Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, affirmed that the Gunners could win anywhere in Europe.

Arsenal visit the Greek champions needing to win by two clear goals or by scoring at least three times in their final Group F game to pip their opponents to a place in the last 16.

Wenger believes the challenge holds no fear for his players addig that nerves could prove an issue for the Greeks.

In the meantime, Bayern Munich coach, Pep Guardiola, said the Bundesliga giants want to keep winning as they prepare for their clash with Dinamo Zagreb.

Bayern Munich Coach, Pep Guardiola

Bayern have already secured top spot in Group F, while the Croatian champions are bottom of the group with only three points in five games.

Guardiola insisted his players always want to win every game as they look to rebound from their first league defeat of the season.

Brazilian full back, Rafinha, also echoed his manager’s sentiments, saying that winning was imperative for Bayern every time they take to the pitch.

Arsenal Stars, Manager Confident After Norwich Draw

Arsenal Mesut Ozil had given the Gunners an early lead but Lewis Grabban swept past Petr Cech on the stroke of half-time to hold Arsène Wenger’s side to a point at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League exploits seemed to have taken their toll on their Premier League performance as they sometimes appeared tired.

Laurent Koscielny and Alexis both suffered injuries during a physical encounter, but the players and their manager are confident Arsenal have enough strength in depth to maintain their Premier League title challenge.

Arsene Wenger admitted after the match that it was a difficult game.

“We played against a Norwich side that was at the top level physically and focused. They were well organised and they played every time with 10 players in their own half, and we were not incisive enough.

“Maybe the turning point of the game was maybe we dropped a little bit after scoring straight away and allowed them back into the game. In the second half I felt we had to dig deep to get though as we were a bit jaded and we lost players.

“Cazorla played on one leg and of course we played Kosicelny at the start of the game so it was, I would say, a fair point for Norwich and it was on the injury front a bad afternoon for us.”

On moving forward after the disappointment, he said, “We have to go through that spell. We had a bad spell of a few games now with Tottenham, West Brom and today we only have taken two points but we are still not far and going through a bad spell and not being far. It is not enough but at least we had an opportunity to come back.”

Ready To Step Up

One of Arsenal’s most improved players in recent months, Hector Bellerin, insists Arsenal’s players are “ready to step up” after Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Norwich City.

“I have said it before, there is great depth in the team,” he told Arsenal Player. “There are a lot of young players in the team waiting to come through, and we have a lot of quality training with us every day.

“They are ready to step up so obviously every single player on the bench can do the same job as every single player in the starting 11. We don’t need to worry about (the injuries to Alexis and Koscielny). The only thing we need to do is go out onto the pitch with the right mentality, it does not matter who we play.

“The conditions weren’t the best but Norwich are a well-organised team who were very solid at the back and dangerous on the counter. We should have played our game better than we did.

“We made some mistakes that cost us the game and we need to look at ourselves and realise that this is not the way. We need to push ourselves a bit more and play better football if we want to be at the top. What happened on the pitch was not a great experience but we need to try and bounce back so we are ready for the next game.”

Good To Be Back 

In spite of the disappointing draw, Aaron Ramsey felt good to get more minutes under his belt.

The Wales midfielder had been sidelined since October, but returned as a substitute in the Gunners’ convincing midweek win against Dinamo Zagreb.

Sunday was Ramsey’s first start since making his comeback from injury, and the 24-year-old was delighted to secure another valuable 72 minutes against Norwich.

“It was good to be back out here and to get some minutes under my belt,” he said. “Hopefully I can get a few more games under my belt to get my fitness levels back up.

“It was obviously a bit disappointing to go a goal up and to concede that goal was a bit disappointing from our view, but to be fair they did well and they deserved to get a point out of the game. We just will have to up our game in our next match.

“They didn’t make it easy for us. They played a few long balls at times and it was difficult to get he ball down and get our pressing on but they did really well and probably a draw was a fair result.

“Every game is important at the moment, it is so tight so we don’t want to drop any points. We don’t want to have to play catch up but we will see at the end of the season and we will want to bounce back and get back to winning ways on Saturday.”