Sunday, August 7, 2016

Indian Hockey Team Scores First Win In Olympics In 12 Years, Beats Ireland 3-2 In Rio 2016 Opener

Indian hockey team made Olympic history today by winning their first match in the Rio 2016 Games over Ireland. In a Group B encounter at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Rio de Janeiro, India beat Ireland 3-2.

India players celebrate
In a match which was dominated more by India than the Irish, Rupinder Pal Singh was the leading goalscorer with two strikes and fellow drag flicker VR Raghunath scored the other goal for the winning side. John Jermyn was the lone scorer for Ireland. All goals scored in the game came via penalty corners.
The 3-2 win for India meant that they had broken an Olympic winless run that dated back to 2004 when India beat South Korea 5-2 in the 7th place play-off at the Athens Olympics.
Players vying for the ball
For the first time in Olympic history, the field hockey games are divided into four quarters of 15 mins each rather than two halves of 35 mins.
India dominated the first half with higher percentage of ball possession. And when Raghunath successfully flicked the ball into the net in the final minute of the first quarter, the arena began chanting, "India...India!"
Rupinder Singh then struck his first Olympic goal in the 27th minute before landing another strike in the fourth quarter.
Rupinder Pal Singh (right)
India however, did let the grip off the game by allowing the Irish to claw back from 3-1 to 3-2 thanks to Conor Harte but during the nervous final two minutes Indian team remained calm and composed to ensure they get full points.
India need to win two games in all to make the quarterfinals but they have dangerous sides like Netherlands, Germany in their group. Argentina and Canada are the other teams in Group B. The next match is expected to be tougher as they face Germany on Monday. 
India is the most successful country in men's Olympic hockey, having won eight gold medals, but they have not reached the podium since the Moscow 1980 Games.

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