A rotated Chelsea side came from behind to defeat Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 in their final UEFA Champions League (UCL) group match, as the Croatians failed to reach the knockout stage of a European competition for the first time in three years.
Zagreb, meanwhile, had to win and hope that AC Milan could keep out Salzburg in order to reach the UEFA Europa League knockouts via third place.
This was going to take a huge effort, given that no team drawn from pot four had ever taken six points from the Blues in the UCL group stage, but Bruno Petković’s seventh-minute header got the Croatians off to the perfect start after César Azpilicueta’s poor clearance.
This was ultimately not good enough from Ante Čačić’s men, who would have stayed in Europe with a win, after Milan went on to thrash a now Europa League-bound Salzburg 4-0 in the other Group E finale.
Instead, a failure to keep up their end of the bargain means no European football beyond Christmas, whilst Chelsea eagerly await the Round of 16 draw, as their bid to win a third UCL title in 11 years continues.