Tokyo Olympics, Hockey highlights: India beats New Zealand 3-2

Tokyo Olympics 2021 score: Here are all the commentary updates from the Summer Games as the Indian men's national hockey team squared off against New Zealand on Saturday.

The Indian hockey players celebrate their third goal against New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of India's opening Tokyo 2020 Olympics hockey game against New Zealand.

This is Dominic Richard taking you through all the action as it unfurls at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Thanks for tuning in!

The Indian Women's Hockey Team will take on the Netherlands at 5:15 PM IST today. Meanwhile, the men's side will face world No.1 Australia at 3 PM IST tomorrow.

FOLLOW SPORTSTAR'S TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS COVERAGE

The Indian men's hockey team will not play again today. But Saturday's Tokyo Olympics action is far from over. You can head to our other live blogs to witness Indian athletes trying to win medals in various sports.

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Stephen Jenness did pull one back for New Zealand in the third quarter to make things interesting. However, the Indian defenders saw off the late surge from the opposition to open their Tokyo Olympics campaign with a win.

MATCH REPORT | Olympics hockey: Indian men win opening match 3-2 against New Zealand

A brace from Harmanpreet Singh, both off penalty corners, and a Rupinder Pal Singh penalty-stroke conversion cancelled out Kane Russell's opening goal for New Zealand as India took a 3-1 lead in the 33rd minute.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

AND THE GAME IS OVER! INDIA BEATS NEW ZEALAND 3-2!!!

60' PC FOR NEW ZEALAND! A brilliant run from Hugo Inglis gives NZL a chance to make it 3-3. But the Indian defence stands strong to keep the score 3-2 in their favour.

59' NZL REFERRAL! This one is just out of pure desperation. The New Zealand players think they can win a penalty corner here. However, they end up empty handed.

58' SREEJESH YOU BEAUTY! Kane Russell hit a stunning shot towards the top left corner of the post off a penalty corner. Indian goalie PR Sreejesh executed a full-stretch dive to his right to deny New Zealand the equaliser. Moments later, he pulled off another remarkable save in open play.

57' BACK-TO-BACK PCs FOR NEW ZEALAND! After a long referral, NZL is eventually given the penalty corner. And, surprise, surprise! the team has won one more.

55' Harmanpreet Singh has been the standout player on the field here. He's put in a very good defensive shift and has converted two penalty corners. The substitute Birendra Lakra has been excellent since coming on as well.

52' New Zealand has a slight edge when it comes to possession (52-48) today. However, the team has been a bit wasteful up front (1/5 PCs with a shooting efficiency of 25%), and that's why India has the lead.

49' After three consecutive successful referrals, India has a failed one in an attempt to win a penalty corner. New Zealand regains possession.

47' Amit Rohidas and Lalit Upadhyay come up with a decent move on the left flank for India. The New Zealand defence stays compact to avert the danger.

THE FOURTH QUARTER BEGINS!

We are heading towards a thrilling final 15 minutes as India leads New Zealand 3-2 in men's hockey on day two of the Tokyo Olympics.

THE THIRD QUARTER IS DONE AND DUSTED!

43' GOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!!! NEW ZEALAND PULLS A GOAL BACK!!!! A major lapse in concentration for the Indian defence and NZL capitalises on it. Nick Wilson receives a pass on the right flank, dribbles past Birendra Lakra and sets up Stephen Jenness, who scores past Sreejesh with ease.

40' UPDATE: Australia beats Japan 5-3 to register the first points in Hockey at the Tokyo Olympics. The Aussies are in the same group (Pool A) as India and New Zealand.

38' The Indian forwards are pressurising the New Zealand defence big time here. Sreejesh has had absolutely nothing to deal with at the other end this quarter.

36' ANOTHER INDIAN PENALTY CORNER! Harmanpreet almost completed his hat-trick with the shot on target. But NZL keeper Hayward made a good save.

33' GOAAALLLLLLLL!!!!! INDIA TAKE A 3-1 LEAD NOW!!! Another Indian penalty corner, another Harmanpreet goal. New Zealand looks extremely rusty in the middle since conceding the second goal.

32' EARLY CHANCES FOR INDIA! Mandeep Singh has been a menace up front. He's been supported well by Dilpreet Singh on the right. Another Indian goal looks likely.

THE THIRD QUARTER IS UNDERWAY!

Indian athletes are also in action in various other sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics today. Follow them through the links provided below.

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THE SECOND QUARTER IS OVER!

29' New Zealand enjoyed a long period of dominance in this quarter but India scored against the run of play. Nick Wilson's missed chance could come back to haunt NZL.

26' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! INDIA TAKES THE 2-1 LEAD!! A penalty-corner innovation from the Indians and Harmanpreet Singh finds the back of the net. Rupinder Pal, the usual PC converter, slipped the ball towards Harmanpreet on his left to trick the New Zealand players.

24' VERY CLOSE! Vivek Sagar Prasad had a wonderful chance to score. But the New Zealand defence gets the better of him close to goal.

22' JAPAN 3 - 3 AUSTRALIA! In the other Olympic men's hockey game happening now, the host nation and the 2004 gold medalist from Athens are involved in an exciting clash, which is in the third quarter.

19' WHAT A CHANCE FOR INDIA! The captain Manpreet received a long pass from substitute Lalit. He was one-on-one with the NZL goalie. However, his lob attempt was saved by Hayward.

17' New Zealand is dominating possession against India right now. The Indians are losing the ball cheaply in midfield quite too often.

THE SECOND QUARTER BEGINS!

A penalty-stroke goal from Rupinder Pal Singh cancelled out a penalty-corner strike from Kane Russell as India and New Zealand are tied 1-1 after the opening 15 minutes.

THE FIRST QUARTER COMES TO AN END!

15' INDIAN COUNTER-ATTACK! The substitute Gurjant Singh rushes forward with the ball. But the New Zealand defence tracks back in time to avert the danger.

13' FOUR CONSECUTIVE PCS FOR NEW ZEALAND! The Indian defence is struggling to get the ball away here. Sreejesh pulled off a brilliant save for India just moments ago. NZL messes up another penalty corner.

10' GOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!!! INDIA EQUALISES!!! Rupinder Pal won a penalty stroke from a penalty corner and he sent NZL keeper Leon Hayward the wrong way from close range.

9' The experienced duo of Birendra Lakra and Lalit Upadhyay haven't started in the first quarter. The youngster Vivek Sagar Prasad is also on the bench.

6' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! NEW ZEALAND TAKES THE 1-0 LEAD!! NZL won its first penalty corner and Kane Russell converts it with precision.

5' FOUL! Indian skipper Manpreet Singh hits New Zealand defender Nic Woods on the face with his stick, unintentionally. Woods is being treated on the field.

3' PENALTY CORNER FOR INDIA! Mandeep Singh won this one after receiving a pass from Nilakanta Sharma. HITS THE POST! Rupinder Pal Singh misses the target by a whisker.

1' Good early pressure from India here. Dilpreet Singh moves forward with pace on the right flank but isn't able to create a clear-cut chance.

AND THE MATCH BEGINS!

The team lineups are out!

INDIA XI: PR Sreejesh (GK), Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh (C), Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Shamser Singh.

COACH - Graham Reid.

NEW ZEALAND XI: Leon Hayward (G), Dane Lett, Nic Woods, Kane Russell, Blair Tarrant (C), Shea McAleese, Nick Ross, Hugo Inglis, Sam Lane, Stephen Jenness, Nick Wilson.

COACH - Darren Smith.

The world’s best coaches and scientific training have given Indian hockey a refreshingly new identity, Moscow Olympics gold medallist MM Somaya writes ahead of the country's hockey teams' opening games at the Tokyo Olympics.

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He was marked out for greatness as a player and a leader even before he became a constant in the national side. Having led the Indian team at the Junior World Cup, Manpreet Singh has always had confidence in abundance but it has been tempered with a sense of responsibility as captain.

Ahead of his third Olympics, the Indian skipper shared his plans, disappointments and determination to succeed at Tokyo.

FULL STORY | Manpreet Singh on Indian men's hockey team's Tokyo Olympics preparations: We are ready

MATCH PREVIEW:

It has been over 40 years since the Indian men claimed the most recent of their incredible eight Olympic hockey gold medals, which arrived at Moscow 1980.

However, their superb form in recent times makes them serious contenders to claim a ninth title at the upcoming event in Tokyo.

The team has claimed victories against nearly all the top teams in world hockey over the past few years, with Australia-born head coach Graham Reid, a former international with the Kookaburras, getting the best out of a talented and exceptionally fit collection of athletes.

India had booked its ticket to Tokyo with two victories over Russia in the 2019 FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, winning 4-2 and 7-1 in Bhubaneswar.

“It has not been an easy process to make the final selection of 16 players as there is a lot of quality and ambition in this group of players," Reid said ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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"The performance levels of all athletes are at an optimum level and more importantly they work well together. They know what it means to represent the country at the Olympics. We're now focused on training with the same intensity and our goal is to put forward our best performance as a collective unit in Tokyo,” he added.

Meanwhile, coached by former Black Sticks midfielder Darren Smith, New Zealand – which shocked the world by becoming Olympic champion at Montreal 1976 – is renowned for its tireless work ethic as a team but is also blessed with some exceptional individuals.

Stephen Jenness and Hugo Inglis are both wonderful attacking talents, while veteran defender Shea McAleese and penalty corner expert Kane Russell are consistently excellent performers.

New Zealand reached Tokyo with two victories over Korea in the 2019 FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, winning 3-2 and 3-0 in Stratford.

“It’s a pretty experienced group but it’s also the first pinnacle event for players like Sam Lane who have previously missed out through injury or Jacob Smith and Nick Ross who have been rewarded for their perseverance. They’ve shown they’re really determined to be there,” said coach Smith.

THE SQUADS:

India - P.R. Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit, Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh.

New Zealand - Leon Hayward, Blair Tarrant, Hugo Inglis, Steve Edwards, Sean Findlay, Stephen Jenness, Sam Lane, Dane Lett, Shea McAleese, Jared Panchia, Nick Ross, Kane Russell, Jacob Smith, Dylan Thomas, Nick Wilson, Nic Woods.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

  • At what time will the Indian hockey team be in action?
    The hockey game against New Zealand will start today at 6:30 AM IST (10 AM local time).
  • Where to watch Indian events at Tokyo Olympics?
    The Sony Sports Network will broadcast Tokyo Olympics live in India.

    Sony TEN 3 HD/SD will telecast India events with Hindi commentary while Sony TEN 1 HD/SD and Sony TEN 2 HD/SD will have English commentary.

    Live streaming of the events will be available on the SonyLIV and JioTV apps.