Derby County suffered late heartbreak on the opening day of their season as they were beaten 0-1 by Chelsea at Pride Park Stadium.

Substitute Marcel Lavinier scored the only goal of the game as he met a rebound to ensure the Blues went home with all three points.

The Rams had defended resolutely throughout the encounter and looked to have secured the point but a late goal resulted in an opening day defeat.

The Rams almost fell behind in the opening 10 minutes of the game as Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net.

Midfielder Tino Anjorin managed to prod the ball past Henrich Ravas, however, the linesman’s flag was up for offside as the Rams were reprieved.

It was a tough opening for the Rams who struggled to get hold of the ball but they did eventually work their way back into the game.

Midway through the first half, Alex Babos whipped a free kick into the box onto the head of central defender Max Hunt but he could not direct his header on target.

A minute later, and this time it was the turn of new signing Jahmal Hector-Ingram to go close. The striker met a cross from Jayden Mitchell-Lawson but could only head over the crossbar.

Ravas had to be alive 10 minutes before half time as Chelsea striker Juan Castillo found half a yard and fired a fierce effort on goal but the goalkeeper was equal to it.

Derby held firm despite two late first half efforts for the visitors to go in at the break goalless.

The Rams regrouped at half time and proved to be a constant pain for Chelsea as they stood resolutely and refused to be beaten.

Despite heavy pressure, it was the Rams who almost took the lead on 69 minutes. A neat ball into the box found Connor Dixon at the back post but he could not direct his close-range effort on target.

At the other end, some last ditch defending from Callum Minkley denied Anjorin from close range to keep the scores level.

As the game opened up, the Rams again were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead.

Dixon was fouled on the edge of the box and that presented Alex Babos with a shooting opportunity from 20 yards.

He stepped up, curled the ball over the wall but his effort was just too high and went over the crossbar.

It turned out to be heartbreak for the young Rams as Chelsea took the lead on 85 minutes through substitute Lavinier.

Ravas managed to save an initial free kick which was on target, but the forward put away the rebound to give the visitors a late lead.

The Rams did react well to the setback and threw everything forward in a bid to get something out of the game, however, it came too late as Darren Wassall’s side fell to an opening day defeat.

Derby County: Ravas, Minkley, Brown, Dixon, Wassall, Hunt, Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell (Brown 71’), Hector-Ingram, Babos (Splatt 90+2’), Shonibare (Thompson 57’).

Unused Subs: Yates, Greco.