Tokyo, July 24
Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace and veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh stood like a wall in the closing minutes as the Indian men’s hockey team overcame a late surge from New Zealand to eke out a 3-2 win in its opening Pool A match here today.
Harmanpreet (26th and 33rd minutes) gave world No. 4 India a two-goal cushion with two penalty-corner conversions after Rupinder Pal Singh had converted a penalty stroke in the 10th minute to level things up.
Eighth-ranked New Zealand had taken the lead through a Kane Russell drag-flick goal in the sixth minute. Down by two goals, the Black Sticks regained confidence after Stephen Jenness’ 43rd-minute strike. However, despite the late pressure, the Kiwis could not find the equaliser.
India will next play Australia tomorrow. The Kookaburras beat hosts Japan 5-3 earlier in the day. — PTI
Women find Dutch too hot to handle
The Indian women’s hockey team fought valiantly in the first two quarters before losing steam to go down 5-1 against world No. 1 Netherlands in their opening Pool A match. Felice Albers (6th, 43rd) scored a brace for Netherlands, while Margot van Geffen (33rd minute), Frederique Matla (45th) and Caia Jacqueline van Maasakker (52nd) were the other goal-scorers. India’s lone goal was scored by skipper Rani Rampal in the 10th minute. “Now we have the benchmark, we will look to make improvements,” India head coach Sjoerd Marijne said. India play Germany on July 26. pti
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