Denis Zakaria scores the winning goal in Chelsea debut in Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb

Denis Zakaria scored the winner on his Chelsea debut as Graham Potter’s side topped Champions League Group E with a 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge.

A 1-0 defeat in Zagreb on September 6 prompted the sacking of former Blues manager Thomas Tuchel, but Potter saw his side return to winning ways after the weekend’s loss to his former club Brighton.

Despite falling behind through Bruno Petkovic’s early goal, Raheem Sterling equalized before loaned Juventus midfielder Zakaria – who had to wait for a chance to impress – struck.

Zagreb started with a win and loss against RB Salzburg to reach the Europa League but failed to get the required result in London.

There was a worrying moment for Chelsea in injury time when England international Ben Chilwell was substituted after falling to the ground clutching his left hamstring.

Just seven minutes had elapsed as Zagreb gave their third-place hopes a brief boost as Petkovic put the visitors ahead from close range.

Ten minutes later, Sterling equalized with his first Chelsea goal since 14 September.

The 27-year-old snatched the ball from the edge of the box after a pass from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, found space to shoot and then drove deep into the back net.

In the 26th minute, the home side had a chance to take the lead when Kalidou Koulibaly tried to head in from a corner, but it went over the bar.

(Getty Images)

Sterling also had a chance to improve his and Chelsea’s record just before the half-hour after being picked by Kai Havertz but his first goal sailed over the bar.

Chelsea were soon rewarded for their chances, however, when Zakaria sent a low drive past goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Defender Sadegh Moharrami stood at the post and managed to get the ball with one boot but couldn’t stop it from crossing the line.

Zagreb almost equalized early in the second half, but Edouard Mendy was level with a Josip Sutalo header.

The game continued throughout, with Aubameyang seeing a long-range shot bounce off the crossbar.

Mason Mount almost added to Chelsea’s advantage with a free-kick that forced a save from Livakovic and Conor Gallagher saved an 85th-minute try.

Chelsea had another chance to cap their victory in stoppage time but Livakovic had coped with an attempted tap-in from Gallagher less than five yards away.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/raheem-sterling-zagreb-dinamo-zagreb-thomas-tuchel-juventus-b2216452.html Denis Zakaria scores the winning goal in Chelsea debut in Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb

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