Harmanpreet, Sreejesh heroics help India beat New Zealand 3-2 in men's hockey opener at Tokyo 2020

India will face Australia in their next encounter on Sunday.

Saurabh GangulyAuthor

Updated - 24 July 2021 11:14 AM


Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace, while veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh did not let anything go past him in the final minutes of the match as the Indian men's hockey team overcame a late counter-attack from New Zealand to register a 3-2 win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games on Saturday. While Harmanpreet scored for India in the 26th and the 33rd minute, Rupinder Pal Singh also netted a goal in the 10th minute. The former champions are currently ranked number four in the world and showed their class in this Pool A game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, for the eighth-ranked side New Zealand, Kane Russell converted a penalty corner in the sixth minute before Stephen Jenness added a goal but could only manage to reduce the margin of India's lead who were 3-1 ahead prior to this. India will face Australia in their next encounter on Sunday.

India conceded a goal early

While it wasn't the best of starts for Team India as they conceded a goal in the early minutes as Russell found the top right corner of the net past Sreejesh with a superb flick. Although he didn't score, striker Mandeep Singh was a live wire for India upfront and even earned a penalty for the Indian team with which Rupinder scoring the equaliser.

Although the eventual result did not go in their favour, the Kiwis gave the Indian defence a tough time and even secured four consecutive penalty corners but failed to convert even a single one of those. From their counter-attack, Gurjant had come close to handing the Indian side a lead but Lean Hayward was alert and denied the goal.

Sreejesh to India's rescue

Four minutes in the second quarter, Hayward was once again in action as he kept India skipper Manpreet Singh's effort from a one-on-one battle which could have proved dangerous for the Kiwis. However, not much later Harmanpreet put India in the lead and since then there was no stopping the team. He converted another penalty minutes later and although it was all New Zealand in the culminating minutes of the match, Sreejesh came to India's rescue and made superb saves to ensure an India win.


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