The Indian men's hockey team opened their Tokyo Olympics campaign with a 3-2 victory over New Zealand in a Pool A match on Saturday morning at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
Harmanpreet Singh scored two goals off penalty corners as India survived some anxious moments to start with a win.
Rupinderpal Singh had equalised for India in the 10th minute after New Zealand had gone ahead off a penalty corner conversion by Kane Russel.
Harmanpreet scored off successive penalty corners in the 26th and 33rd minute to give India a 3-1 lead.
Stephen Jenness reduced the margin for New Zealand. The Black Sticks created a lot of pressure in the fourth quarter but could not find the equaliser.
Graham Reid's Indian team are ranked fourth in the world while New Zealand are eighth. Even in head-to-head matches, India have won 21 of the 41 encounters while New Zealand have won 15. Five ended in draws.
The two teams are in Pool A with Australia (No 1), Argentina (7th), Spain (9th) and hosts Japan (15th).
Though the team is a little bit short on the match practice -
The European teams -- Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, and Spain had participated in the European championships. The Indians had a lengthy camp at Bengaluru, playing intra-squad matches to simulate match situations.
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