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India opens Hockey World Cup with a 5-0 win against South Africa

Next India will play against Belgium and Canada in the group stage

India registered a grand win against South Africa in the opening day of Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 which is being held in Odisha. India scored 5 goals against South Africa’s zero. It gave team India a boost of morale, that can help it in the upcoming matches and help it grab the world cup.

The first match of India was organised in Kalinga stadium at Bhubaneswar, with 15,000 frenzied spectators. Among them were hockey veterans, who led India grab first Hockey world cup in 1975. They were invited to witness this first match of India and South Africa.

India last played South Africa at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and beat them 5-2. Both the teams have since not met on the international stage. India played with aggressive tactics, evident from several raids executed in first 8 minutes, but without luck.

The first goal came from Mandeep Singh by a penalty corner, in the ninth minute. Then there was no stopping. Mandeep Singh’s goal was followed by a goal by Akashdeep Singh in the twelfth minute. In the second quarter, South Africa tried to equalise by counter-attacks, but Indian defence stood strong. The score remained 2-0, in the second quarter.

Simranjeet scored from India’s behalf in the third quarter, with help of a perfect pass from Mandeep Singh as India took a three-goal lead in the game. The fourth goal came only three minutes later, from Lalit Upadhyay, taking the score to 4-0, which was followed by Simranjeet Singh striking a goal against Africa at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth quarter witnessed South Africa going defensive against India and protecting its citadel. India tried hard, to take the score higher, but in vain. Africa defended well in the fourth quarter.

With this, the match ended with India standing at 5, and South Africa at zero.

Belgium defeated Canada in yesterday’s match also held in Kalinga stadium, held before the India vs South Africa match. Belgium scored 2 against Canada’s zero.

India and South Africa are placed in pool C of the tournament. 16 countries are participating in the World Cup, divided in 4 pools of 4 teams each. The tournament started on 28th November, and the World Champion of Men’s Hockey will be decided on 16th December when the final match takes place.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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