Graham Potter’s Chelsea fell behind on Wednesday but soon made amends in a comfortable Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Denis Zakaria scored the winner on his Chelsea debut as the Blues recorded a fourth straight UEFA Champions League win with a 2-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge.
Zakaria has struggled to break into the first team since joining on loan from Juventus last transfer window, but his 30th-minute strike proved decisive after Raheem Sterling had canceled out Bruno Petkovic’s opener.
The Blues had already secured their place in the knockout stages as Group E winners ahead of Wednesday’s clash in which Ben Chilwell gave Chelsea cause for concern after later picking up a hamstring injury.
However, Dinamo were unable to come back and were knocked out of Europe after finishing bottom, while Chelsea responded in encouraging fashion after losing 4-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
Petkovic put Dinamo ahead in the seventh minute after Chelsea failed to deal with Sadegh Moharrami’s right-wing cross, but the Blues were soon level.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swung for Sterling to dance onto his left foot and coolly find the bottom left corner.
Sterling missed a great chance when he fired home Kai Havertz’s cross from close range, but Zakaria fired into the bottom left corner from a similar distance after another short pass from the German to put Chelsea ahead.
Edouard Mendy pushed away Josip Sutal’s header after the break, while Livakovic deflected over Aubameyang’s curler before Chilwell fired wide from a tight angle.
Mason Mount’s whipped free-kick was denied in the closing stages by another fine save from Livakovic, although the win was marred somewhat by Chilwell’s injury as he was treated by physios late in the game.
Chelsea player ratings vs Dinamo Zagreb (4-3-1-2)
GK: Edouard Mendy – 6/10 – Continues to terrify with his passes but did a decent job with his hands.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10 – A little nervy at both ends of the field but nothing to really be concerned about.
CB: Trevoh Chalobah – 7/10 – Nice and solid at the back. Impressed with his willingness to clear the ball instead of take risks at the back. Won nearly every attacking corner.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly – 7/10 – Shook off an early injury scare to keep Dinamo at bay after a nervy start.
LB: Ben Chilwell – 6/10 – Not on it in the first half but grew into the game as things progressed. Pulled up with a hamstring injury in the dying embers.
CM: Jorginho – 8/10 – Flashed the sort of passing that fans have been crying out for. The Italian looked forward and was trying to bag assists, and Chelsea looked so much better for it.
CM: Denis Zakaria – 8/10 – Impressive at both ends of the field. Won plenty of tackles and made a telling impact in attack before limping off injured. Kept it simple and effective.
CM: Mason Mount – 7/10 – Really intelligent movement to link defence and attack. Did a lot of work off the ball which saw him fly under the radar at times.
AM: Kai Havertz – 7/10 – No idea where he was actually playing but Havertz was evidently loving life in this free-roaming position. Got into so many dangerous positions.
ST: Raheem Sterling – 7/10 – After three games without a shot, Sterling showed why he should never play wing-back again. A lovely finish.
ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7/10 – Not involved as much as he’d like but still found himself playing a role in Chelsea’s build-up play.
SUB: Conor Gallagher (64′ for Havertz) – 7/10 – Played with attack-minded energy.
SUB: Thiago Silva (64′ for Koulibaly) – 6/10 – Wasn’t too busy apart from sending a header flying over the bar.
SUB: Armando Broja (64′ for Aubameyang) – 6/10 – Played more as a right winger, but still did a decent job.
SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (70′ for Zakaria) – 6/10 – Quick feet but a little aimless at times.
SUB: Christian Pulisic (83′ for Sterling) – N/A
Manager: Graham Potter – 7/10 – The return to a back four, with a crowded midfield, worked perfectly for Chelsea. Deducted one point for not involving a single academy player even with four open bench spots.