Hockey Highlights -- India vs Ireland Rio Olympics 2016: Rupinder Pal's Brace Helps IND Escape With 3-2 Win vs IRL
Indian men started their Rio Olympics 2016 hockey campaign with a narrow 3-2 win over Ireland on Saturday thanks Rupinder Pal Singh's brace. Ranked No. 5 in the world, India finished last in London 2012. Catch all highlights of India vs Ireland here.
India had a jinx to break in Rio Olympics 2016. Interestingly, Indian men had not won their opening match of an Olympic competition after Sydney 2000. But PR Sreejesh's India changed that with a 3-2 victory over Ireland. Catch all the highlights of India vs Ireland here. (MEDAL TALLY | INDIA AT RIO TODAY | NEWS)
21:17 hrs IST: Hope you enjoyed our coverage. Also join us for live shooting blog as Jitu Rai and Gurpreet Singh will be seen in action in some time.
21:13 hrs IST:Â India's first win in an Olympic hockey match after 12 years. All goals came from short corners. India's next match is against defending champions Germany
21:10 hrs IST:Â India escape with 3-2 win vs Ireland after Rupinder's brace
21:07 hrs IST:Â Ramandeep sees yellow and India down to 10 men
21:06 hrs IST:Â Two minutes left on the clock. Ireland withdraw their goalie and have 11 attackers on the pitch. Desperation?
21:04 hrs IST:Â India survive and keep their 3-2 lead
21:03 hrs IST:Â Ireland also force their ninth penalty corner. Less than four minutes left
21:02 hrs IST:Â Goal granted. Ireland score their second goal via Conor Harte. India under serious pressure now.
21:01 hrs IST:Â Ireland scores but India want a video referral...lot of drama
20:59 hrs IST:Â Ireland win their eight penalty corner with five minutes left for the match to end
20:56 hrs IST:Â Poor trapping, poor strategy and Ireland fail to convert their seventh short corner
20:55 hrs IST:Â Sreejesh saves but Ireland get another penalty corner. India lead 3-1
20:54 hrs IST:Â Ireland win their sixth penalty corner midway through fourth and final quarter
20:48 hrs IST:Â Rupinder Pal makes it 3-1. Another fantastic and pin-point finish to goalie's right. It is Rupinder's second goal of the match
20:47 hrs IST:Â India trying to keep possession by switching flanks. India force their seventh penalty corner with 12 minutes left on the clock
20:44 hrs IST:Â The last quarter starts and India look very keen to build on their 2-1 lead. India on the attack straight away. Good approach
20:43 hrs IST:Â Jermyn John's brilliant finish in the 45th minute gives Ireland hope. It was a strong finish, a low attempt to Sreejesh's right. Great goal
20:42 hrs IST:Â Ireland strike at the end of 3rd quarter but India keep lead
20:41 hrs IST:Â Ireland score their first goal with a good finish. It's Ireland 1, India 2.
20:39 hrs IST:Â India concede a penalty corner to Ireland due to Raghunath. Two minutes to goÂ
20:38 hrs IST:Â India down to 10 men in the last couple of minutes after Uthappa's green car
20:37 hrs IST:Â Akashdeep Singh with a fine solo run down the centre but Irish defence do well to thwart the attack. Three minutes left in third quarter
20:35 hrs IST:Â India hold on to their 2-0 lead with four minutes left in third quarter.
20:32 hrs IST: Meanwhile in disappointing news for India, table tennis player Mouma Das lost her women's singles opener in straight games to Daniele Monteiro of Romania
20:31 hrs IST:Â Ireland win their fourth penalty corner in the sixth minute of third quarter and waste it again
20:30 hrs IST:Â India have converted two of their six penalty corners. Ireland have wasted all their threÂ
20:29 hrs IST:Â India attacking a lot through the flanks
20:28 hrs IST:Â India win a long corner in the 4th minute of third quarter
20:27 hrs IST:Â Sardar Singh has been a livewire in the field today. The former skipper is really putting a lot of pace in his display today
20:22 hrs IST:Â Action about to start after half-time. India have to hold on to their lead. Ireland have shown the propensity to attack with long balls. Interesting 30 minutes coming up
20:19 hrs IST: Meanwhile the first gold of 2016 Rio Olympics has gone to Virginia Thrasher who won the women's 10m air rifle event earlier in the day.
20:14 hrs IST:Â India waste the penalty corner and it's the end of the second quarter. India lead on goals by Raghunath (15th) and Rupinder Pal (27th).
20:13 hrs IST:Â India win their sixth penalty corner with three minutes left for first half. Will it be 3-0?
20:08 hrs IST: Rupinder Pal Singh makes it 2-0 with a brilliant push to the top-right corner. Brilliant finish. India lead 2-0
20:06 hrs IST: Off a counterattack, India win their first penalty corner of this quarter. Four minutes to go
20:05 hrs IST:Â Defender Conor Harte fires it wide and India cling on to their 1-0 lead
20:04 hrs IST:Â Ireland using the width of the pitch and playing long balls but India defending well. Ireland win their second penalty corner with five minutes left
20:01 hrs IST:Â Ireland waste the opportunity. India keep 1-0 lead.
20:00 hrs IST:Â Ireland win their first penalty corner midway through the second quarter
19:59 hrs IST:Â Ireland escape in the 7th minute of second quarter. Nikkin Thimmaiah's good run from the left set up Ramandeep but final touch goes astray
19:54 hrs IST:Â The second quarter gets under way and Ireland on the offensive straightaway
19:51 hrs IST:Â Yes, Raghunath scores with a superb placement to the goalie's right. India 1 Ireland 0 at the end of first quarter
19:50 hrs IST:Â India win their 4th penalty corner vide a video referral. Will they score this time?
19:49 hrs IST:Â India waste this too but force a third one
19:48 hrs IST:Â India win their second penalty corner thanks to a video referral. Just a few second left for the quarter to end but India in no hurry
19:47 hrs IST:Â India waste their penalty corner. Poor finish. But India also waste a field goal opportunity. The best moment of the first session
19:45 hrs IST:Â India win their first penalty corner in the final minute of first quarter
19:44 hrs IST:Â A good move by SK Uthappa with a sizzling move down the left flank but good defending by the Irish
19:43 hrs IST: It is still 0-0 after 11 minutes of play
19:42 hrs IST:Â India are putting a lot of pressure but no proper shots at goal so far. The game has been quite scrappy so far
19:41 hrs IST:Â Midway through first quarter, Indian goal survives a scare. Sreejesh comes up with a good saveÂ
19:40 hrs IST: Shot at the Indian goal... and it goes just above of Sreejesh's head
19:38 hrs IST: Decent crowd at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Rio
19:37 hrs IST: Manpreet to Sunil and.... oh! That was close!
19:35 hrs IST: Good move there by Harmanpreet. India are more or less playing in the Irish half
19:34 hrs IST: Here are the line-ups. PR Sreejesh will be leading the Indian team at RioÂ
19:32 hrs IST: And the match has started!
19:31 hrs IST: India have been placed in Group B along with Argentina, Canada, Germany, Ireland and Netherlands
19:30 hrs IST: The national anthems are being sung at the Olympic Hockey Centre
19:25 hrs IST: India were the first team to qualify for the Rio Olympics when they beat Pakistan in the 2014 Asian Games final
19:20 hrs IST: India take on Ireland in their opening match of the tournament
19:15 hrs IST: Hello people and hockey lovers! Welcome to the live blog of India's first match of the Rio Olympics
With a 4-1-1 win-draw-loss against Ireland, India, world No. 5, will start hot favourites against the Irish. But after beating Argentina 3-0 at the Sydney Games in 2000, India have been poor starters.
In Athens 2004, India lost to Holland 3-1 and in London 2012, India once again lost 3-2 to the Dutch. India did not qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games.
History, reputation and form goes for a toss at any big international meet and competing in an Olympics is the ultimate challenge for an athlete and country. India, therefore, will take nothing for granted against the Irish. India beat them 2-1 in their last encounter.
"The Irish can be unpredictable. They have been doing well in the European Championships and are sturdy and fast on the ball. It won't be an easy game to win and we will need to go full force," said Sreejesh.
Eight-time Olympic champions India are in a difficult group. After Ireland, they will play Germany (Aug. 8), Argentina (Aug. 9), Netherlands (Aug. 11) and Canada (Aug. 12) and all matches will be tough. But this Indian team has shown the ability to take the bull by the horns in recent times.
The Champions Trophy silver in London, after a close and controversial final against world champions Australia, will give India a lot of self-belief. India's ability to find a match-winner and not rely on a few players have been a striking improvement under Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans.
Selfie and the fun times over, India will now have to focus on their hockey in a bid to heal the deep scars of London 2012 where they finished last. Sreejesh will remember that horrible campaign.