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Champions League: Orsic goal earns Dinamo Zagreb surprising win over Chelsea

 Dinamo's Dino Peric heads the ball next to Chelsea's Kai Havertz and Dinamo's Josip Sutalo during the Champions League group E soccer match between Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Mislav Orsic must wish he could play English teams every week.

The Croatia forward ran from the halfway line and produced a deft finish in the 13th minute to lead Dinamo Zagreb to a surprising 1-0 win over Chelsea in their opening Group E match in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Add that goal to the winner Orsic scored against West Ham in the Europa League last season and the hat trick he got to eliminate Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in the Europa League in the 2020-21 season.

It marked a memorable start by Dinamo to its first group-stage campaign in Europe's top competition since 2019-20, having got to this point by coming through three qualifying rounds.

As for Chelsea, it was the latest disappointing result in an unconvincing start to the season for a club that spent nearly $300 million on refreshing its squad in the summer transfer window.

The two-time European champions dominated the match in the Croatian capital but were let down by poor finishing, which dovetailed with scrambling defense and some great saves by Dominik Livakovic for the hosts.

In the second half, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - making his debut for Chelsea after a deadline-day move from Barcelona and wearing a mask to protect his injured cheek - had a goal disallowed for a narrow offside against Ben Chilwell in the build-up. Then, in a frantic finish, Reece James smashed a shot against the post before Livakovic made a stunning double stop to deny Mason Mount then Hakim Ziyech.

Ultimately, the smash-and-grab win was earned thanks to the early goal by Orsic, who met a headed flick-on by Bruno Petkovic in midfield by chesting the ball forward inside his own half past Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana and racing clear of the newly signed French defender toward goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

As he approached Kepa, Orsic lifted the ball over the keeper and it bobbled into the net.

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